Akwa United have moved to fifth on the Nigeria Professional Football League table after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Plateau United on matchday 11 at the Nest of Champions in Uyo.
Charles Atshimene scored his second goal of the season to give the Promise Keepers their fifth win of the season.
It was also a match of two opposing managers. Akwa United manager, Kennedy Boboye previously managed Plateau United. Abdul Maikaba handed over to Coach Boboye when he moved to Plateau United.
Akwa United, still trying to recover from the pain of defeat on matchday 10 by Nasarawa United, understood they cannot make the sort of errors that caused their fall in Lafia.
The first half didn’t produce many goal scoring chances. But Charles Atshimene got a clear chance at goal in the 42nd minute but failed to convert. He had lots of space in the box, turned to shoot but it was wide.
The first half ended goalless but centre referee Bala Marwan was busy. Before the break, he had shown yellow cards to Plateau United’s Moses Effiong and goalkeeper Chinedu Anozie. Akwa United’s captain Ubong Friday and Etboy Akpan also received yellow cards.
The home side continued their search for a goal in the second half and found it in the 53rd minute. Ndifreke Effiong had a good run on the flank and sent in a low cross to Charles Atshimene who had time to control the ball and shot confidently to beat goalkeeper Anozie who was hoping to record a seventh clean sheet.
Moments after the goal was scored, the no-nonsense referee Marwan showed a second card to Etboy Akpan and he received his marching orders. Akwa United had a huge task of defending their lead for 27 minutes minus additional time.
Plateau United took control of the game, had chances going forward but they were not good enough to record a goal. The home side defended so well and even had moments when they could have doubled their lead.
Coach Maikaba’s team failed to take advantage of the man advantage and lost the match. It is the fifth of the season for Plateau United who have recorded just three wins in 10 matches. Their matchday 10 fixture against Rivers United did not hold because their opponent was busy with continental action.