NPFL: Akwa United Held At Home by Resilient Plateau United

2017 Aiteo Cup champions, Akwa United were held to a two-all draw by Plateau United at the Nest of Champions in a matchday 4 fixture in Uyo.

The fierce encounter started brightly for the home side as Akwa United took charge of proceedings in the first quarter of the game with Mfon Udoh giving the promise keepers the lead inside the first 30 minutes after being released by Etboy Akpan with a through ball, but Akwa united defence did well to protect the lead until the first 45 minutes was over.

 The second 45 minutes didn’t start too well for the Uyo-based side as Wing-back Etboy Akpan was stretchered off for a muscle strain few minutes into the second half and was replaced by Ubong Friday.

Abdul Maikaba’s men capitalised on the early substitution and pressed high until they got an equaliser mid-way into the second 45 minutes when Bernard Ovoke took a through ball on the right flank and worked his way into his favourite left foot as he dribbled the inrushing Kodjovi  Dazie.

The Togolese defender was able to twat Ovoke’s move, allowing the natural left-footer curl his effort into the far post to restore parity.  

Two substitutions where made as Cyril Olisema and Blaise Adou gave way to Michael Ibe and Paul Obata to return Everton’s earlier adopted 3-5-2 formation to a 4-4-2. Akwa kept on pressing to avoid the repeat of the opening day nightmare. Alberico Da Silva had a well-taken freekick saved at the near post by Ajiboye.

Their pressure was rewarded when Mfon Udoh got fouled at the near side. A few seconds after, his in-swing cross met no one but found the back of the net to give Akwa hope of a first win in the 2018/2019 league season.

A relentless Plateau side kept moving forward in search of an equalizer. Their resilience paid off just two minutes before the final whistle as Centre Referee pointed to the spot some metres outside the eighteen yard for a free kick against the home side.

With Akwa unable to clear the ball clearly out of danger, Maikaba’s final substitute, Benjamin Turba took the initiative to fire a shot after a single control from few metres outside the eighteen yard.

It was impossible not to celebrate as the ball got past Jean Efala into his left hand top corner to make sure Maikaba’s men secured something from the former Aiteo Cup champions.