Ndifreke Effiong netted twice as Akwa United came from behind to snatch a dramatic 2-2 draw with Dakkada in the Akwa Ibom derby at Godswill Akpabio Stadium on Wednesday.
The Nigeria international scored his first of the evening on the half-hour mark to cancel Dakkada’s ninth-minute lead, before heading in late on to salvage a point for his side — and take his goals tally to seven for the season — after captain Eso Archibong had restored the newcomers’ advantage.
Originally fixed for April, the matchday 30 tie had to be brought forward to prevent possible manipulations, given that both clubs get funding from the same source.
Both sides play their home matches at Godswill Akpabio Stadium, so in truth they were both playing at home, even though the fixture was officially listed as an Akwa United home game.
Unlike the first meeting, which didn’t quite live up to the pre-match hype, Wednesday’s clash was full of tension and thrilling moments.
Having lost the reverse fixture, which was held on December 22, Dakkada were looking to win on Wednesday to earn bragging rights against their city rivals.
And they needed just nine minutes to get in front. It was Moses Effiong who fired Caleb Esu’s side into the lead, tapping home from close range after goalkeeper Jean Efala spilled Archibong’s freekick.
Femi Ajayi then had a chance to increase the visitors’ lead when he was put through on goal with a beautifully lofted pass, but the bulky striker fired tamely and the effort was easily saved by Efala.
The game increased in tempo after ten minutes, with both sides trying to dictate play. The Promise Keepers had their first shot on goal in the 15th minute when Ifeanyi Eze tested Vincent Edafe from the edge of the box. The shot was too weak to trouble the goalkeeper. Effiong also had a chance inside the area to pull his team level but squandered it.
In the 30th minute, the former Abia Warriors frontman was brought down in the box by Lateef Babalola. After dusting himself off, Effiong duly dispatched the resulting penalty to equalize.
Effiong should have scored again from a loose ball few minutes later, but he fired wide.
Things got even more interesting in the second half as both teams tried taking all the available points. However, no clear-cut chances were created. Kennedy Boboye’s team, though, had more control with some beautiful string of passes in the middle.
With ten minutes left to play, the visitors thought they had taken all three points when Archibong rounded Dennis Nya at the edge of the box to fire beyond Efala and into the back of the net following a counter-attack, but Effiong powered home a header just before added time to ensure a share of the spoils — and earn his team a third straight draw.
Ultimately, neither side will be happy with the result. Dakkada, in particular, will rue the outcome given that a win would have taken them into the top-three.
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