Akwa United football club of Uyo kicked start their 2016/2017 Nigeria Professional Football League season on Sunday with a shock 3-1 defeat in the hands of newly promoted ABS FC of Ilorin in a week one fixture played at Kwara stadium.
Playing in front of their home fans, ABS made their intention known early into the game when Mohammed Mohammad put the home team ahead, nodding home a Metus Chigozirim’s cross from the left in the 10th minutes to send the Ilorin fans into wild celebration.
But their jubilation was cut short in the 17th minutes when Godspower Igudia equalised for Akwa United heading home a beautifully delivered corner kick after Alhassan missed a glorious chance to level up the scores.
The home team took the lead again in the 30th minutes through a penalty after Metuh Chigozirim was adjudged to have been brought down in the box. Stone Evbuomwan stepped up and send Olufemi Kayode the wrong way to score ABS second goal of the match as they went into the break with a 2-1 lead.
On resumption of the second half, both teams made some tactical substitutions and while it appeared that Akwa United was controlling the game, ABS substitute Abubakar Chindo capitalised on a loose ball due to a defensive misunderstanding and increased his team’s lead in the 65th minutes and all effort by Akwa United to give some level of respectability to the score line proved abortive as the Saraki boys marked their return to the Nigeria Professional Football League with a resounding 3-1 victory.
Speaking after the match Coach of Akwa United Abdul Maikaba said that his team lost because the boys did not play according to instructions but maintained that he will address the problem before the next match.
” It was a nice game and I must admit that our opponents deserved to win because my players did not play as expected. For instance, we were always second to the ball, while our opponents were always first to the ball. What determines the winner of a match is who is more mobile in the field of play and ABS players moved more than my players and that gave them the edge at the end of the day.”
Coach Maikaba added, ” we have just started, and we have 37 more matches to play so we have to work on our players before the next match so as to get a better result”.
ABS coach Henry Makinwa praised his players and revealed that he capitalised on his opponents weak points to win the match.
I told my boys what to do and they did it. It was not an easy match, Akwa was more experienced but we work more on the second ball.
We have been studying them for so time now, we did our home work well and it paid off” coach Makinwa explained.
ABS will next play Niger Tornadoes in Minna while Akwa United will be at home against last season’s league runners up Rivers United in Uyo on Wednesday.