Head coach of Akwa United Rafael Everton has revealed that his team deliberately exploited Kano Pillars’ susceptibility to aerial balls to score twice in their 2-2 draw on the opening day of the 2018/2019 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Super Six playoffs.
Ndifreke Effiong and Aniefiok Godspower both scored headers from set pieces after Pillars had twice taken the lead through Ebuka David and Nwagua Nyima at the Agege Township Stadium, venue of the Super Six on Tuesday.
Everton said both goals were borne out of deliberate tactics to profit from Pillars’ weakness in defending set pieces after they found success with a similar tactic in the 3-0 win over Pillars in Uyo during the regular season.
“The game we played against Kano Pillars in Akwa [at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo] we scored two goals from aerial balls. We know they have a difficulty in that area and we work very hard about it and by God’s grace the balls entered to help us,” the Brazilian said in his post-match briefing.
Despite earning with just a draw in their curtain-raiser, Everton said they had approached the match with the intention of grabbing the win but said he was satisfied with the result and praised the attitude of his team in pegging back Pillars twice.
“We committed to the game and we had confidence to win this game. We played very well, but a draw is okay, we have the next game and we need to plan for the next game but it’s okay we played well to come back twice. It’s good for my boys and I’m very happy with the attitude of my players.”