Last season’s joint top scorer Mfon Udoh netted a 27th minute leveler to cancel out Amadi Samuel’s early goal as Akwa United begin their quest for a maiden NPFL title on a positive note, on the opening day of the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League at the Warri City stadium.

The Promise Keepers, 4th in last season’s Super-six play-offs, surprisingly fell behind a minute after kick-off. Amadi Samuel latched onto a good pass inside the box to give the NPFL returnee a shock lead and send the fans into wild jubilation.

Coach John Obuh’s men quickly settled in and took control of the game, playing some exciting football, and in the 27th minute Mfon Udoh met Paul Obata’s low cross inside the area and calmly tapped in the equalizer.

Coach John Obuh took charge of his new team for the first time in a competitive match since joining the club and handed debut to five of the new signings. Goalkeeper Adewale Adeyinka started in goal, Ekemini Ukoebe, Dare Ojo, Morice Chukwu and Samuel Mathias were given the nod and they didn’t disappoint.

In the build up to the new season, Akwa United defeated Warri Wolves 1-0 in a pre-season friendly played at the Krisdera Hotel Stadium in Omoku, but the Promise Keepers came up against a completely different team in Warri on matchday 1.

After taking the lead in the 2nd minute, Warri Wolves struggled to find their footings but were completely dominated by the Promise Keepers who dictated the pace of the game and created some good scoring chances.

In the 9th minute, Mfon Udoh’s curling effort crashed against the crossbar with the goalkeeper well beaten. Dare Ojo, Mfon Udoh and Samuel Mathias all came close to getting the equalizer but saw their attempts narrowly missed the target on each occasion.

Paul Obata who had a good game, did well on the right flank and delivered a brilliant low cross into the box for Mfon Udoh to tap home from close range.

Second half injury to Paul Obata saw him replaced by Christian Ekong. Ekemini Ukoebe and Samuel Mathias were also replaced by Sampson Gbadebo and Emmanuel Charles towards the closing stages of the game.

Despite being the better side throughout the game, Coach John Obuh’s men couldn’t get the winning goal to snatch their first victory over Warri Wolves in five attempts. Akwa United are still without a win against Warri wolves who have won two and drawn two of their last four games against the Promise Keepers before Sunday’s 1-1 draw in Warri.

Coach John Obuh told the club’s official website www.akwaunitedfc.net that he was impressed with the outcome of the game and expressed optimism that his team will not relent in working hard for victories in subsequent games.

“We started slowly and got punished by conceding an early goal. I’m excited that we were able to fight our way back into the game. It was a game we should have won but we didn’t take our chances.

“We defeated Warri Wolves in Pre-sesson, but they have a completely new team from the one we played against. This is just the first game of the season, but it is a good start that we have a point from our first game of the season. We will continue to work hard so we can have positive results in subsequent matches”.

Akwa United will next face Abia Warriors on matchday 2.

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