Seven-time Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions Enyimba succumbed to Akwa United at the Nest of Champions in Uyo by 2-1 in a rearranged fixture as Michael Ibe and Dennis Nya figured in the win for the home team on Wednesday.
The defeat was only the third defeat suffered by the People’s Elephant in the division this season after losses at Katsina United and Enugu Rangers.
Akwa United head coach Abdu Maikaba restored goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo to the startlist while Ubong Friday, Cyril Olisema, Victor Mbaoma and Nanen Imenger got places on the bench.
There was no place for Ghana stopper Fatau Dauda as Theophilus Afelokhai got the nod in goal. Joseph Osadiaye and Maxwell Effiom also got starting berths in the Enyimba side.
The early moments belonged to the Promise Keepers.
Paul Obata had the first say in the game when his attempt was beaten away by Afelokhai and within minutes the Enyimba goalkeeper was in position to save Ubong Essien’s effort.
It did not take long before Akwa got their noses in front. Ibe expertly turned in Gabriel Wassa’s cutback past Afelokhai to open scoring.
Enyimba also had their moments in a fragmented first period with Akwa stopper Ojo palming away Osadiaye’s volley with Effiom smashing the follow-up wide.
Chinonso Okonkwo and Andrew Abalogu combined late in the first half but their effort yielded nothing.
In quick succession Enyimba made goal attempts to level the scores. Osadiaye came close twice on 55 and 61 minutes.
However 23 minutes into the restart, Akwa doubled their lead as Nya rose highest to nod away Aniekeme Asuquo’s corner kick.
Enyimba made the last 12 minutes a nervy end for Akwa as Wasiu Alalade needed just six minutes of coming off the bench to give his team a lifeline.
Akwa kept their nerves to reach double figures of wins this season that moved them into fourth place with 35 points, five behind leaders Lobi Stars.
© The Predictor NG