Akwa United beat city rivals Dakkada FC (formerly Akwa Starlets) on Sunday at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium to claim all three points and bragging rights in the first-ever Qua-Iboe derby in Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) history.
Veteran striker Akarandut Orok who appears to be enjoying a new lease of life under new coach Kennedy Boboye finished off winger Etboy Akpan’s lovely centre to score the game’s only goal in the 17th minute.
It was the forward’s second goal in as many matches after he also scored the opener in the midweek 2-1 win over Rivers United in Boboye’s first game.
The much-anticipated encounter between highflying newbies Dakkada, second on the log heading into Matchday 10, and their more illustrious but misfiring neighbours lacked the expected fireworks with chances few and far in between in.
Dakkada’s fans had little to cheer about for much of the largely uneventful encounter although Akwa United’s goalie Jean Efala did deny Moses Effiong an equaliser in the 80th minute.
After just one win in their previous eight games, Akwa United have now won two on the bounce since the appointment of former NPFL winner Kennedy Boboye while Caleb Esu’s side drop one spot to third on the log with only their second defeat of the season which have all come at home.
Elsewhere, league leaders, Plateau United left it late to secure all three points against a stubborn Warri Wolves who were undone by a momentarily lapse in concentration deep into additional time.
The game at the New Zaria Road Stadium, Jos appearing to be petering out into a stalemate but Uche Onwuasoanya capitalised on some lax defending to extend Abdu Maikaba’s side’s lead at the top of the log to three points.
Similarly, Kano Pillars also left it late to crush the resolve of visiting FC Ifeanyiubah with second-half substitute Musa Mohammed prodding home on 89 minutes to give the Sai Masu Gida the victory at the Sani Abacha Stadium.
Samad Kadiri 73rd minute winner took Lobi Stars into second position on the log and ensured Gbenga Ogunbote’s charges, unbeaten now in eight games, maintained their one hundred per cent record at the Aper Aku Stadium with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Katsina United in Markudi.
Struggling Enugu Rangers remained marooned in 19th position and without a win in six league games after they fell 1-0 to fellow strugglers Kwara United in Ilorin.
After appearing to have found some stability with a run of two straight draws following three consecutive defeats, the Flying Antelopes never quite got going in Ilorin and left themselves with a mountain to climb following Christopher Nwanze’s flash opener after 47 seconds.
Rangers missed a golden chance to equalise after Seka Pascal somehow contrived to miss from Osas Okoro’s delivery in the 15th minute.
Matters got from bad to worse for Salisu Yusuf’s side when Obinna Ejele was sent off for violent conduct in the 53rd minute as the home side held on to claim a first win following their readmittance into the league in place of Delta Force.
Meanwhile, bottom side Nasarawa United earned a first victory of the campaign with a 1-0 win over Heartland in Lafia courtesy of Abubakar Lawal’s 8th-minute strike.
Hasan Musa struck in the 65th-minute to spare Wikki Tourists’ blushes and ensured a share of the spoils after Jimoh Oni had put visiting Abia Warriors ahead in the 30th minute at Pantami Stadium, Gombe.
A second-half penalty from Konan N’gouan helped Rivers United come from behind to beat Sunshine Stars at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt.
Omo Jesu Ogunniyi put the visitors in the driving seat after 19 minutes but Peter Ubakanma restored parity for Stanley Eguma’s wards three minutes later before N’gouan dispatched an emphatic penalty kick in the 50th minute following a foul on Michael Stephen Gopey in the box.
In Lagos, Adeniji Adewole and Nojeem Adeyinka scored in the first half to condemn struggling Adamawa United to a 2-0 defeat and move Tony Bolus’ side up to fifth.
Earlier on Saturday, Jigawa Golden Stars and Enyimba played out a 1-1 stalemate in Kano with Mannir Ubale cancelling out Victor Mbaoma’s 6th-minute opener for the reigning champions.
2019/2020 NPFL Matchday 10 Results
Saturday, 21 December
Jigawa Golden Stars 1-1 Enyimba
(Mannir Ubale 42’ – Victor Mbaoma 6’)
Sunday, 22 December
Nasarawa United 1-0 Heartland
(Abubakar Lawal 8′)
Kano Pillars 1-0 FC Ifeanyiubah
(Mustapha Musa 89’)
Rivers United 2-1 Sunshine Stars
(Peter Ubakanma 22’, Konan N’gouan 50’ (PEN) – Omo Jesu Ogunniyi 19’)
Plateau United 1-0 Warri Wolves
(Uche Onwuasoanya 90’)
Lobi Stars 1-0 Katsina United
(Samad Kadiri 73’)
Kwara United 1-0 Rangers
(Christopher Nwanze 1′)
MFM 2-0 Adamawa United
(Adeniji Adewole 18’, Nojeem Adeyinka 30’)
Dakkada FC 0-1 Akwa United
(Akarandut Orok 17’)
Wikki Tourists 1-1 Abia Warriors
(Hassan Musa 65’ – Jimoh Oni 30’)