Victor Mbaoma’s 53rd minute goal secured a vital win for defending Champions Akwa United against Wikki Tourists in their opening Group D encounter of the 2018 Aiteo Cup Round of 16 game at the Enyimba International Stadium in Aba on Monday.

The Promise Keepers who previously scored twelve goals in two Aiteo Cup matches, pushed for an early breakthrough but were constantly kept at bay by Wikki Tourists defense in the first half despite their dominance.

Eight minutes after the restart, striker Victor Mbaoma calmly tucked in Etim Mathew’s low cross from the right flank to put his team in front. It was the strikers third goal of the campaign and his team’s 13th of the competition.

The Champions controlled the game with their trademark free flowing football and should have extended their lead but were unable to bury many of their begging chances. Michael Ibe, Aniekeme Asuquo and Ezekiel Bassey were the major culprits.

Akwa United thought they would double their lead towards the end of the game when Wikki Tourists goalkeeper spilled Michael Ibe’s long drive and Ubong Friday reacted smartly to tap the ball into the net but his effort was ruled out for a foul.

Coach Abdu Maikaba fielded a strong side for the crucial game and the boys put up a near perfect performance and deservedly recorded their first win and move top of Group D with three points. Nasarawa United and Kogi United are on one point each following their goalless draw in the first match while Wikki Tourists are bottom of the table without a point.

The Promise Keepers will confront Kogi United in their Second Group game on Wednesday by 2pm at the same venue.

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