Sikiru Olatunbosun scored the match winner as MFM FC grabbed a narrow 1-0 win over Aiteo Cup reigning champions Akwa United in a rescheduled Matchday 8 game decided at the Agege Stadium, Lagos on Friday.
The winger struck early in the 36th minute, with Waheed Adebayo being the architect of the goal after cutting back for Olatunbosun to score his second league goal of the campaign.
MFM’s joint top scorer Waheed Adebayo and Akinyemi Nojeem started with plenty of energy in attack, and the latter went close in the early stages as his header hit the side net from a promising position.
Akwa’s goalkeeper Emmanuel Iwu denied Olatunbosun minutes later when he was given time on the ball, but the Promise Keepers should have taken the lead in the 25th minute – but Aniekeme Asuquo was so unlucky to see his brilliant strike hit the upright.
The deadlock was finally broken when Waheed held his run down the flank before cutting back for Olatunbosun to convert.
Meanwhile, the visitors pressed high as they tried to get the equaliser, while MFM tried catching them on the break – but there was no further goal as the hosts maintained their 1-0 advantage heading into halftime.
The Promise Keepers were more positive after the interval. Michael Ibe failed to guide his free header on target from five yards, while lively full-back Gabriel Wassa tried his luck with an ambitious long range strike that flew over.
Against the run of play, Olatunbosun was through on goal in the 55th minute, but could only steer his lob over the bar.
Akwa United once again stepped up their game as they searched for the leveller and had a goal disallowed in the 61st minute. Midfielder Cyril Olisema walked the ball into the net, but midfielder Michael Ibe was rightly judged to have obstructed MFM goalkeeper Abayomi Folarin.
Substitute Jesse Akila gave MFM’s attack a new dynamic when he replaced Akinyemi in the 63rd minute, but Akwa’s rearguards were on point to deny the forward from having a shot on target with strong blocks.
Despite Akwa’s best efforts late in the game and the introduction of CHAN Eagles attacker Gabriel Okechukwu, it was MFM that almost added to their lead – with Waheed firing over when in hectares of space.
MFM held on to record their fourth consecutive home win of the season and their next game is against Lobi at home, while Akwa United entertain Heartland.
POST MATCH REACTIONS
Sikiru Olatunbosun: “I feel excited scoring the winner as it was a must-win match for us and we had to put in our best. The away draw in Mali also motivated and gave us the belief. Akwa United are top of the table and they gave us a good fight.”
Akwa United coach Abdu Maikaba: “I’m okay that my boys played very well. Nothing can weigh us down despite this defeat. We will continue to push ourselves until we bounce back – especially on the continent against Banjul Hawks of Gambia.”
MFM FC: Folarin Abayomi; Okorom Stanley, Opara Austin, Emiloju Julius, Monsuru Bashiru, Tchato Giscard, Adesola Ademola, Onuwa Chukwuka (Akuneto Chijioke 71′), Olatunbosun Sikiru (Abiodun Ayinde 83′) , Akinyemi Nojeem (Akila Jesse 63′), Adebayo Waheed
AKWA UNITED: Emmanuel Iwu; Otobong Effiong, Gabriel Wassa, Kelly Kester, Ariwachukwu Emmanuel, Godspower Igudia, Cyril Olisema (Katho Haggai 66′), Michael Ibe (Ubong Friday 75′), Victor Mbaoma (Gabriel Okechukwu 79′), Aminu Nuhu, Aniekeme Asuquo
MFM 1-0 Akwa United
Yellow cards: 1-1
Red card: 0-0
Goalscorer: Sikiru Olatunbosun 35′
MOTM: Sikiru Olatunbosun
© The Predictor