BY MFON PATRICK
The race for the top three spots in the Nigerian league hot up as the season enters the half time. Akwa United’s Wednesday clash with MFM turned an encounter of contenders for top spots.
Table topper, MFM slid to the second position while the victorious
Akwa United leapt into the fifth position on the log. Great thanks to 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.
It was also a contest of top scorers as Akwa United’s Alhassan Ibrahim brought his haul to 10, two behind that of Stephen Odey of MFM.
Alhassan Ibrahim opened scoring 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 scramble 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 front men 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 establish 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.