A goal in each half by striker Sani Suleiman earned Akwa United a crucial away victory beating their hosts Lobi Stars 1-2 to move out of the drop zone on the Nigeria Premier Football League table.

The Matchday 33 which was decided at Lobi Stars’ adopted home ground – Lafia City stadium, saw the Promise Keepers recorded their second away win of the season and in the process doing the double over the Makurdi based side after beating them 1-0 in the reverse fixture at Eket in the first stanza of the season.

The 2021 champions began the game deep in the relegation zone and needed a win to boost their chances of survival. After making their intentions known early on, their persistent pressure paid off in the 22nd minute when Sani Suleiman latched onto a loose ball outside the box after the Lobi Stars backline couldn’t effectively clear Seyi Oguntayo’s cross. Suleiman’s effort deflected off a defending player and found its way into the back of the net.

Suleiman continued to terrorize the hosts team backline with his dazzling runs and came close to doubling his team’s lead but on two occasions his attempts were either missed or saved by the goalkeeper Daniel Atsaka.

At the other end, Heutchou Gerome, Wisdom Ndon, David Philip and Samuel Ganda frustrated the efforts of the home team as they commanded a water-tight defense to provide cover for goalkeeper Badmos Nurudeen as they went into the break with a 1-0 lead.

In the second half, coach Baba Ganaru made tactical changes and introduced midfielder Micheal Egbeta in place of Edidiong Ezekiel. The midfielder made an instant impact when he dropped a through pass for Suleiman who timed his run to perfection before going round the goalkeeper to score his second goal of the game and his eight of the season.

Former Akwa United winger Aliyu Abubakar who came on as a substitute for the home side, reduced the deficit for his team when his rocket shot from inside the box flew over Nurudeen into the net.

Akwa United had two glorious opportunities to extend their advantage towards the closing stages of the game but Ubong Friday and Osoba Kabir failed to direct their efforts at goal but they were able to help their team see off the game despite late fight back by the hosts.

The win moved Akwa United to 15th position on the table with 40 points from 33 matches. They will return to President Federation Cup action on Wednesday as they hope to make it to the last eight when they engage Kebbi United at the Bwari mini stadium in Abuja before returning home to face Heartland FC on Matchday 34 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Nest of Champions in Uyo.

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