Akwa United Football Club clinched their first ever Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) title following a thrilling 5-2 win over MFM FC of Lagos at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Sunday.
A hat-trick from red-hot striker Charles Atshimene, Mfon Udoh’s spectacular strike and an own goal by Alimi Adebayo sealed the win for the Promise Keepers in front of a capacity crowd which also had in attendance the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State Deacon Udom Emmanuel.
Akwa United started on the front foot and got their first opportunity in the eighth minute when Etboy Akpan delivered a cross for Charles Atshimene who headed the ball but it went off target.
Ubong Friday’s 12th minute volley off Etboy Akpan’s cross also went wide; and just five minutes later, Seth Mayi’s left-footed shot kissed the bar after being fed by Ubong Friday.
Lethal forward Charles Atshimene broke the deadlock in the 25th minute with a fine header that beat MFM FC’s goalkeeper Folarin Abayomi after Ubong Friday’s initial attempt was blocked.
Akwa United mounted more pressure and doubled their lead in the 45th minute when Alimi Adebayo directed Samuel Amadi’s cross into his own net as the Promise Keepers took a 2-0 lead into the break.
Mfon Udoh made it 3-0 in the 62nd minute after controlling Ubong Friday’s pass and firing into the bottom corner.
Coach Kennedy Boboye made his first change in the 64th minute as he replaced Samuel Amadi with Ikechukwu Nwani.
MFM reduced the deficit in the 67th minute through Michael Mbonu’s penalty after a foul in the box by Olisa Ndah.
Coach Kennedy Boboye made two further changes with Adamu Yakubu and Wisdom Fernando coming on for Seth Mayi and Mfon Udoh in the 77th minute.
Atshimene got his second goal of the evening in the 86th minute, thanks to Wisdom Fernando’s great run and assist after combining well with fellow substitute Adamu Yakubu.
It became 4-2 when MFM capitalised on Akwa United’s loss of concentration from a corner kick situation as Dennis Obasi fired home.
Charles Okafor and Ubong Essien got involved from the bench as Sampson Gbadebo and Etboy Akpan were pulled out in stoppage time.
Charles Atshimene then put the game to rest with another fine finish off Wisdom Fernando’s cool assist as Akwa United sealed a 5-2 win while Atshimene completed a hat-trick and took his season tally to 18 goals.