Nigerian clubs on the continent MFM FC and Akwa United had contrasting outings in their rearranged fixtures in the NPFL on Thursday with the former edging Nasarawa United while Akwa suffered a two-nil reverse at Rivers United.
MFM have endured a difficult period in the last 26 days in which they suffered that humiliating 6-0 defeat at MC Alger and then a 1-0 loss at home to Malian side Djoliba AC in front of their supporters at the CAF Confederation Cup playoff.
Fidelis Ilechukwu’s men however shrugged off those setbacks to edge Nasarawa United 2-1 to move into the top half of the standings.
Two quickfire goals in the opening 10 minutes through Zinte Udeh and Julius Emiloju set the Church-owned outfit on their way to a seventh win in the league this season.
But MFM had to endure nervy moments in the second half — something Ilechukwu will be mindful of when they face Djoliba in the second game of the Confederation Cup playoff next Wednesday week.
Nasarawa United nearly took a point at the Agege Stadium with Ikechukwu Nwanu in the thick of things and MFM goalkeeper Abayomi Folarin denying Najeem Olukokun on one occasion as well.
Folarin could not however keep out Nwani’s 74th minute effort after Victor Okoro’s perfect assist picked him out. Despite a late rally by the Solid Miners, MFM held on for a win.
The same could not be said of another Confederation Cup campaigners Akwa United. The Promise Keepers tipped by most pundits to challenge for this season’s league title were largely tepid against Rivers United and ended up suffering a two-nil defeat in Port Harcourt.
Emeka Ogbugh scored Rivers United’s first goal from the spot on 31 minutes after Etim Matthew fouled him in the box.
Akwa with Abdu Maikaba opting to leave out first-choice goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo and midfielder Kelly Kester on the bench hardly troubled their opponents and at the end of the first 45 minutes had no attempts at goal — something which is rare about teams managed by Maikaba.
It looked all too easy for Rivers United even in the second half as substitute Malachy Ohawume put the game to bed from Chikere Osita’s assist with eight minutes to time.
The defeat means Akwa drop out of the top-three amid suffering their third straight defeat in all competitions. Maikaba and his men have a Herculean task of turning a two-goal deficit against Sudan’s Al-Hilal next week in the Confederation Cup playoff.
© The Predictor NG