NPFL Club side, Akwa United squared off against NNL Club side, Yobe Desert Stars in the Naija Super 8 Group B opening fixture.
Akwa United’s first-half brilliance at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Lagos, saw them claim all three points against Yobe Desert Stars, Soccernet.ng reports.
In a game where it rained for nearly the entire ninety minutes, the players put on a show that saw the fans and neutrals entertained. Akwa United, relentless in their counter-pressing, allowed Yobe Stars little to no time on the ball, as the opponents could barely catch their breath from kickoff, and they kept knocking on the door and asking questions of the Yobe Stars’ defence, and the breakthrough eventually came four minutes after the half-hour mark.
The goal came after a James Ajako corner-kick found the head of Chukwuebuka Anthony, who directed his powerful header towards goal and left the Yobe Desert Stars goalkeeper, Isa Ismail scrambling. The goal was Chukwuebuka’s debut goal for his new side after making the switch to Akwa United from Enugu Rangers.
Akwa United added the second goal just eight minutes later. Midfielder Cyril Olisema, scored a screamer after some intricate one-two passes that opened up the opponent’s defence, and he took his shot from outside the box to extend the lead for Akwa United, as the first half saw them purring in red-hot form.
The second half saw Yobe Desert stars grow into the game, as they tightened up their defence and in an attempt to show a resilient spirit, saw a penalty saved by Isa Ismail, after Akwa’s Chigoziem Salomon was fouled, but Cyril Olisema’s chances of a brace were cut short by Ismail’s brilliance as he denied the midfielder from the penalty spot. Yobe were able to half the deficit in the fifty-fifth minute when Emmanuel James scored a rare goal, sending a low free-kick into the back of the net.
Emmanuel, speaking to Soccernet.ng after the match, said; “I don’t score very often, but I’m glad I did today. It’s a shame we couldn’t get the win, but we will do well to ensure we win next time.”
Akwa United’s next game in the Naija Super8 is on Monday, 10th of July by 4:30 pm, where they will be playing against Rivers United, meanwhile Yobe Desert Stars will take on Lobi Stars earlier, by 2:00 pm on Monday.