The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) kicked off in a fantastic fashion as El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri produced the biggest shock yet of the season to defeat Akwa United 1-0 at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, reports.
The home team had thrown the gates open to their fans in a bid to garner large support, it was the away side that threatened in the opening stages through Afolabi Abdulwaheed, ensuring Akwa captain Godspower Igudia entered the referee’s book after just five minutes.
New signing Mfon Udoh then floored Innocent Gabriel with superb skill before setting up teammate Alberivo, but the Brazilian threw away the opportunity.
With the half time whistle approaching, El-Kanemi almost scored a Greek goal when winger Ali Aliyu ran the length of the pitch, going past two markers in the process before firing wide as both teams went into the break goalless.
Akwa did, however, come into the second half with more determination and thought they had scored just 30 seconds after the restart via Michael Ibe, but the assistant referee’s flag was up for offside, much to the frustration of the home team.
A flurry of substitutions then took place from both benches as both teams showed no desire to settle for a draw. Babaganaru then introduced Ba’akaka Azikoro for the impressive Ali Aliyu.
The substitution did, however, become a masterstroke as the forward scored the game’s lone goal four minutes into stoppage time when he fired into an empty net after goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo was robbed of possession in the midfield.
The win takes El-Kanemi to the top of the table in Group A with three points, level with Kano Pillars and Nasarawa United who also won their respective home games.