Akwa United football club played out a thrilling 2-2 draw with Kano Pillars in the second game of the 2019 Nigeria Professional Football League Super-Six play-offs at the Agege stadium in Lagos on Tuesday.
The Promise Keepers came from behind twice to have a share of the spoils and secured their first point at the tournament as they continue their quest for a maiden NPFL title.
Both sides met twice in the just concluded NPFL regular season, with the Promise Keepers having the upper hand following a 1-1 draw in Kano and a 3-0 victory in Uyo. But they fell behind after just two minutes when striker Ebuka David pounced on a lose ball to put his team ahead.
The Uyo based side equalised at half hour mark through striker Ndifreke Effiong. The striker rose the highest to nod home Wilson Elu’s perfect cross from the right. The Promise Keepers’ celebration was however short lived as the Sai Masu Gida regained their lead in a controversial fashion. Nyima Nwagwa directed a drop ball towards goal but his effort was cleared off the line by Togolese defender Kodjovi Dadzie but the referee insisted that the ball had crossed the line.
Coach Rafael Everton replaced Alberico Da Silva with the league joint top scorer Mfon Udoh. The striker’s first contribution was a brilliant delivery from a free-kick which Aniefiok Godspower headed home in the 37th minute as both sides went into the break on level terms.
The second half witnessed high tempo performance from both sides with plethora of goal scoring chances which they failed to convert.
In what was a near perfect performance by Akwa United, Mfon Udoh and Denis Nya missed crucial opportunities to win the game for their team. In the 52nd minute, Mfon Udoh met Cyril Olisema’s through ball in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper but his low strike was saved by Idris Ibrahim.
Moments later, Denis Nya’s glancing header from Mfon Udoh’s delightful free-kick went wide, before Mfon missed what was his team’s best chance in the second half when he spooned Aniefiok Godspower’s brilliant cross from inside the six yard box.
With three minutes before the end of the game, Kano Pillars’ Ifeanyi Nweke was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident against Kodjovi Dadzie but the Promise Keepers’ attempt to explore the numerical disadvantage of their opponents did not pay much dividends as the game ended in stalemate.
In other results, Enyimba of Aba beat Enugu Rangers 1-0 while Lobi Stars defeated FC Ifeanyi Ubah 3-1.
Akwa United will continue their campaign on Thursday afternoon against FC Ifeanyi Ubah by 3pm, before
Lobi Stars battle Rangers by 5pm. The last game of the day will see Kano Pillars up against
Enyimba international by 7pm.