BY MFON PATRICK.
Akwa United’s five matches unbeaten run came to an end in Enugu when a 12th minute goal by Bright Silas helped champions Enugu Rangers to a 1-0 win at the Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium on match day 24 of the Nigeria Professional Football League NPFL on Sunday.
A swift linkup play by Chiemaka Madu and Godwin Aguda put Bright Silas through on goal and the midfielder slide the ball beyond Ojo Olorunleke into the back of the net to give the champions an early lead.
The match which was played behind closed doors was Rangers’ first win in four matches and Akwa United’s first defeat in six matches.
The host were motivated by their early lead and followed it up with series of attacking moves in quick succession but they were constantly frustrated by Akwa United’s defence.
The Promise Keepers had three excellent goal scoring chances in the first half but Harmony Ikande, Ubong Friday and Cyril Olisema all failed to effectively utilize the opportunities as the host ended the first half with a 1-0 lead.
The second half resumed with both teams engaging each other in a midfield battle. However, it was Akwa United that settled in quickly with series of attacking moves which were well checked by Okey Odita and Pape Ousmane in Rangers defence.
Coach Abdu Maikaba introduced Moses Ebiye, Gabriel Okechukwu and Edem Akakatang into the game in search of an equaliser but it was debutant Akakatang that troubled Seidu Mutawakilu in Rangers’ goal with three excellent attempts in the space of 12 minutes.
Akwa United’s pressure nearly paid off when Aremu Afeez blasted a thunderous shot from 25 yards but his effort was saved by Rangers goalkeeper as the champions held on to the narrow win.
The defeat leaves Akwa United on 33 points from 22 matches. The Uyo based side with two outstanding matches will next face Wikki Tourists of Bauchi in one of the rescheduled games on Wednesday in Uyo.