____As Akwa Utd End First Round in 5th Place
Two first half goals by Alhassan Ibrahim and Ubong Friday was all the miracle Akwa United Football Club needed to crumble Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries FC of Lagos on a Matchday 19 encounter of the Nigeria Professional Football League at the Godswill Akpabio international stadium on Wednesday.
Top scorer Alhassan Ibrahim scored his tenth goal of the season, when he tapped in Kodjovi Dadzie’s left footed cross in the 17th minute to give the home side an early lead.
The Promise Keepers doubled their lead in the 31st minute through Ubong Friday in what was his fourth goal of the season.
Initial attempt by Christian Pyagbara caused commotion in MFM’s box but the visitor managed to scrambled the ball out of play for a corner kick.
Amaechi Orji delivered an inviting ball into the vital area. An attempt by MFM’s goalkeeper Nasamu Emmanuel to parry the ball away resulted in him colliding with two of his defenders while the ball rolled into the path of Aremu Afeez and the midfielder set up Ubong Friday who blast the ball into the back of the net to give the home side a 2-0 lead.
Earlier in the game, Ifeanyi and Friday had had free kicks in promising positions.
While Ifeanyi’s free kick narrowly missed the target- sailing over the bar and kissing the roof of the net,
Friday’s 30 yards effort crashed off the crossbar in what were early signs of the home team’s intentions.
Ariwachukwu Emmanuel coordinated a stingy defense line alongside Paterne Counou, Kodjovi Dadzie and Ofem Inah which constantly kept MFM’s frontmen in check.
MFM’s golden boys, Sikiru Olatunbosun and Stephen Odey both had rare chances of reducing the goal deficit but their efforts lacked the necessary venom to trouble Emmanuel Iwu in goal as coach Abdu Maikaba boys went into the half time break with a comfortable 2-0 lead.
On resumption of the second half, the two teams attacked with renewed vigour, playing excellently in the midfield but were let down with the final ball not hitting the target.
Playing against his former club, Ifeanyi controlled the midfield with help from Aremu And Alhassan.
The trio dominated and detected the rhythm of the game in the midfield while constantly supplying Christian Pyagbara with some well tailored passes.
Pyagbara bulldozed MFM’s defense more than three times but could not add to the score line.
MFM who struggled throughout the duration of the game to established their plan, did not really threatened as they were outplayed in the midfield.
Despite both teams making three changes apiece, the score line remained unchanged from what it was at the end of the first half as Akwa United strolled to their eighth win of the season and their third victory in a row.
The result ensures that the Promise Keepers end the first stanza of the league season in 5th place with 29 points from 19 matches.
The defeat knocked off MFM from first to second position on the NPFL log with 33 points from 19 games as the league goes into the mid season break.
Super Eagles coach Salisu Yusuf was one of the top dignitaries who watched the entertaining game at the Nest of Champions.