Ten-man Akwa United suffered a 3-0 defeat to league leaders Plateau United at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos on Sunday in one of matchday 28 games of the Nigeria Professional Football League NPFL
Ariwachukwu Emmanuel’s clearance inside the box bounced off Ifeanyi Ifeanyi but referee Jonathan Zakariya adjudged it to be a hand ball and awarded a penalty to the home team in the 20th minute which was converted by Emmanuel James.
Moments after the restart, Musa Newman was harshly tackled from behind, but it was Ubong Friday that got involved in an argument with Ogene Elijah. The incident fetched Friday a yellow card but further argument with the referee resulted in the winger being sent off in the 24th minute.
In a tactical move to contend the home team, Coach Abdu Maikaba replaced Cyril Olisema with Christopher Lolo in the 36th minute.
Despite the poor pitch, the midfielder was able to combined with Ifeanyi and Aremu to supply Musa Newman and Gabriel Okechukwu with some decent passes but their attacking moves were continuously repelled by Plateau United’s defense as the host went into the break with 1-0 lead.
On resumption, the league leaders enjoyed the numerical advantage and mounted pressure on the visitors, playing long balls and making long throws into the vital area.
In a bid to capitalise on the aerial balls, Coach Kennedy Boboye introduced Kabiru Umar and the tallest player in the league Emeka Umeh into the game.
Both Umeh and Umar put their height into good use towards the closing stages of the match, as Umeh headed in Daniel Itodo’s long throw in the 86th minute before Umar headed in a free kick deep into stoppage time to give the home team a comfortable 3-0 win.
The result ensured Plateau United remained on top of the log with 51 points from 28 matches while Akwa United slipped to 4th position on the log with 43 points from 27 matches and with one outstanding match against Rivers United.
The 3-0 defeat is Akwa United’s biggest defeat this season and the Promise Keepers will next face Gombe United at the Godswill Akpabio International stadium in Uyo on Sunday.