By TUNDE SHAMSUDEEN
Nasarawa United laboured to a slim 1-0 win over ten man Akwa United in Lafia on Thursday evening in one of the Matchday Eleven fixtures of the Nigeria Professional Football League NPFL.
Adamu Hassan scored the only goal in the 33rd minutes of the game when he headed in Jide William’s cross to secure all three points for the Lafia based side.
The game which was physical in nature saw both teams matching each other force for force which prompted referee Jonathan Zacharna to issue eight yellow cards including two to Akwa United’s central defender Semiu Laidi who was sent off in the 69th minutes.(6 yellow cards for Akwa United and two for Nasarawa United).
Akwa United may feel the officiating was poor, but Nasarawa United will be celebrating their return to winning ways after a disappointing one win in their last five matches.
Akwa United went into the game with full confidence after their resounding victory over Abia Warriors and coach Maikaba made one change to the team that beat Abia Warriors with Ishmaila Shagari replacing Emmanuel Iwu in goal while Nasarawa United were desperate for a win after suffering a 2-0 defeat in their last outing against El Kanemi Warriors.
After a nervy start to the match, the host had the first real chance in the 10th minutes but their effort was cleared off the line by defender Kodjo Dadzie and in the 20th minutes, Douglas Achiev shot was off target.
Akwa United had chances of their own, Musa Newman, Moses Ebiye and Ubong Friday all failed to capitalised before Adamu Hassan put the host ahead in the 33rd minutes.
Coach Maikaba’s boys settled quickly after conceding the goal, Ifeanyi, Aremu and Alhassan combined neatly to put Ebiye through on a one-on-one situation but the winger was pushed down in the box only for the referee to waved play on as the host went into the break with a one nil lead.
The second half resumed with Nasarawa United mounting pressure on Akwa United’s defence but Aremu Afeez and Godspower Igudia were in their element in frustrating their host attacking efforts.
The Promise Keepers had a great chance to level up the scores but a cross by Dadzie was headed over the bar by Alhassan.
Akwa United were made to play the last 21 minutes of the match with ten men after defender Semiu Laidi was sent off for two bookable offense in the 69th minutes.
Coach Maikaba introduced defenders Paterne Counou and Ubong Idio as well as striker Christian Pyagbara in place of Kodjo Dadzie, Aremu Afeez and Ubong Friday in the last 20 minutes of the match but they were unable to get the equaliser as Nasarawa United held on to their slim win.
The win moved Nasarawa United to 12th on the table with 13 points same with Akwa United who occupied 13th position but with inferior goal difference.
Nasarawa United’s coach Kabir Dogo said he was delighted that his team picked all three points and maintained that they still need to work on their attacking department.
Coach of Akwa United Abdul Maikaba blamed his team’s defeat on poor artificial pitch and the hot weather condition which he said affected his team’s performance.
Akwa United will next battle El- Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri in Uyo on Sunday while Nasarawa United will travel to Minna to take on Niger Tornadoes.