Reigning Nigeria Professional Football League Champions Akwa United recorded an emphatic 2-0 victory over Wikki Tourists of Bauchi to moved up to 4th position of the league table on match-day 16.
Two quick goal at the start of the second half from substitutes Adam Yakubu and Leo Ezekiel sealed the crucial win for the Promise Keepers in what was their seventh victory of the season.
The win propelled the reigning Champions to 4th on the log with 26 points from 16 matches comprising seven wins, five draws with four loses.
Coach Alli Jolomi made five changes to the starting line-up that lost in Jos on Sunday.
Africa Cup of Nations bronze medalist Jean Efala was given the nod to start in goal. Full-backs Etboy Akpan and James Ajako returned to the starting line-up. Defender Charles Okafor partnered Samson Gbadebo in the heart of the defense while Austin Osaynade started in the attacking midfield role.
The home side dominated play and created some good scoring chances in the early stages of the first half but couldn’t find a way past Galadima Mohammed in Wikki Tourists’ goal.
Striker Leo Ezekiel was introduced into the game in the 18th minute after David Onovo was stretched off after colliding with goalkeeper Galadima Mohammed.
Akwa United’s pressure almost paid off in the 32nd minute when Austin Osaynade played a clever ball over the visitors backline. Leo Ezekiel tried an acrobatic attempt but goalkeeper Galadima saved it.
Moments later, Wisdom Fernando dragged his effort just wide and Leo Ezekiel’s shot few seconds after went straight into the hands of Galadima.
Wikki Tourists had a wonderful chance to go in front in first half stoppage time when Alyiu Abubakar made his way into the box but goalkeeper Jean Efala and Samson Gbadebo made three brilliant blocks to deny the visitors from taking the lead as both teams went into the break on level terms.
On resumption of play,. Coach Jolomi pushed more men forward and replaced James Arong with Adam Yakubu.
Yakubu made an instant impact four minutes after his introduction when he volleyed home Wisdom Fernando’s pass beyond Galadima Mohammed to put the Champions in front.
First half substitute Leo Ezekiel doubled Akwa United’s lead a minute later with a clever chip from Wisdom Fernando’s cut back pass for his second goal of the season.
The home side kept on the pressure and created some more goal scoring opportunities. Ubong Friday, Wisdom Fernando and Leo Ezekiel all came close but couldn’t bury their chances, while Adam Yakubu’s curling freekick from outside the box kissed the crossbar and went out for a corner.
The visitors few scoring chances were thwarted by a well coordinated backline that provided a good cover for goalkeeper Jean Efala.
Samuel Amadi, Denis Nya and Ezekiel Bassey were later introduced into the game taking the place of Charles Okafor, Ubong Friday and Wisdom Fernando but they couldn’t add to the score line but were able to hold on for their seventh win of the season against Wikki Tourists who have now suffered eight defeats against Akwa United.
The Promise Keepers will make a short trip to Okigwe this weekend to engage neighbors Abia Warriors on Sunday 6th March, 2022