Gata’s strike helps Akwa United ease past Nasarawa United
By Fred Edoreh
Adeshina Gata’s ninth minute strike proved just enough and vital for Akwa United as they managed a lone goal victory against Nasarawa United in the last fixture of Matchday 12 in the NPFL decided at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo on Monday.
The Promise Keepers began the day in eighth position, with three outstanding games, knowing a win will propel them to third, but coach Abdu Maikaba for the first time in three games dropped Etim Matthew, Ubong Friday and Ariwachukwu Emmanuel, Victor Mbaoma and Cyril Olisema from his starting 11.
Nasarawa United, Kabiru Dogo, opted for the experience of birthday boy Suraj Ayeleso in goal who clocked another year on matchday.
Akwa United got the game to a fast start and quickly broke from the left where Gata was brought down on the edge of the box. Dennis Nya’s deflected freekick got to the path of the winger, who slammed in his first of the campaign, since making the switch from ABS FC.
The Solid Miners should have been on level terms in the 27th minute, when Ishaya Anu was sent through on goal, but he could not put the ball past Olorunleke Ojo in Akwa United goal from 10 yards.
Christian Pyagbara was guilty for not doubling his Akwa United’s advantage at the stroke of half time, despite benefiting from a Kelly Kester’s clever pass.
Ten minutes after restart, Olorunleke needed to be at his best to keep out Suleiman Mohammed’s effort from close range, in what would have brought the visitors back in contention.
Despite the introduction of Musa Newman for Aminu Nuhu, Cyril Olisema for Pyagbara and Ubong Friday for Gata, Akwa United lacked the spark to double their advantage, but it was the visitors who nearly stole the show, as they pressed for an equalizer.
They (Nasarawa United) almost got rewarded seven minutes from time, when substitute Abubakar Ahmed squandered a glorious opportunity to earn his side a point.
Akwa United however completed the fixture with ten men, after Ubong Friday was sent off in added time for stamping on Abdullahi Abubakar.
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