Akwa United extended their winning streak in the league to five with a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Wikki Tourists at the Nest of Champions on Wednesday.
Ubong Friday netted in the first half to give the home side the lead, but the Promise Keepers were made to endure a nervy final 30 minutes to maintain their 100 per cent record under Kennedy Boboye.
The former Nigeria U20 international made just one change to the side that earned victory at Jigawa Golden Stars on Sunday, with Paul Obata replacing Aniekeme Asuquo.
His opposite number Garba Ibrahim left out Saidu Abdullahi, giving Sjala Olushola a starting role.
Stand-in captain Friday found the far post after Akarandut Orok’s miscued header off Etyboy Akpan’s brilliant cross fell to him.
Three minutes later, Orok had a chance to extend his four-game scoring run, but blasted wide of the cross bar after being picked out by Akpan. It wouldn’t have counted, though, as the offside flag was up.
The visitors, who were looking for their first win since a matchday six victory against Heartland on November 30, grew in confidence after the break and they nearly equalized on the hour mark when Manu Garba found himself with a chance near Efala’s post. The Cameroonian had to be at his best to keep out the forward’s effort.
And with three minutes of normal time left to play, the Bauchi side went close again — this time it was Adamu Mohammed with a close-range effort after he was put through. Efala came off his goal line to pull off a breathtaking save to preserve his side’s lead and extend his run of clean sheets to four matches.
The hosts saw off the remaining minutes to secure their fifth win in a row.
The result has moved the Uyo club to within two points of leaders Plateau United, who are level on points with Lobi Stars and Rivers United. It pushed Wikki down to 13th.
On Sunday, Boboye and his team will travel to Jos to face his former side Plateau United, who are managed by former Akwa United head coach, Abdul Maikaba.
Wikki, on the other hand, will host Sunshine Stars. Kabiru Dogo’s men will be aiming to record their first win in four home matches.
Akwa United: Jean Efala, Etboy Akpan(Otobong Effiong 82′), Philip David, Morice Chukwu, Denis Nya, Wilson Elu, Ubong Friday(Dare Ojo 71′), Ndifreke Effiong, Akarandut Orok, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Paul Obata(Wisdom Fernando 62′)
Unused Subs: Bassey Akpan, Godspower Igudia, Marshal Johnson, Wisdom Fernando, Ocheme Edoh
Coach: Kennedy Boboye
Goal: Ubong Friday 30′
Yellow cards: Philip David 56′, Wilson Elu 85′
Wikki Tourists: Abubakar Adamu, Hassan Musa, Christopher Waziri, Mansoor Sale Aliyu(Saidu Abdullahi 56′), Peter Ambrose, Franklin Anthony, Idris Mohammed Guda(Manji Williams 69′), Williams Ukeme, Ajala Olushola, Adamu Mohammed, Manu Garba(Mubarak Umar 65)
Unused Subs: Ibrahim Pius, Hassan Abubakar, Hassan Hussain, Promise Damala
Coach: Garba Ibrahim
Yellow cards: Christopher Waziri 43′, Ajala Olushola 68′, Peter Ambrose 73′
Akwa United 1-0 Wikki Tourists
On target: 1-4
Yellow Cards: 2-3
Man of the Match: Jean Efala
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