By Aniekeme Unyah
Akwa United assistant coach Abasiakan Windy says his side are confident of a positive result against Enugu Rangers when the teams meet at Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium on Sunday.
A combination of resolute defending and goalkeeper Japhet Opubo’s heroics earned Rangers a goalless draw against Windy’s men in Uyo last Sunday, as the Nigeria Professional Football League season reached the halfway mark.
On Wednesday, the two sides were involved in rescheduled matches — with Akwa United clashing with city rivals Dakkada and Rangers meeting Jigawa Golden Stars in Enugu. While Salisu Yusuf’s team beat the Northwest team 1-0, Akwa United needed a late Ndifreke Effiong goal to salvage a 2-2 draw in the derby.
Windy expressed disappointment at the draw with the newcomers, and then added that The Promise Keepers are confident of taking at least a point from their trip to Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.
He said: “Well, like I said earlier, it is not the result we expected earlier. Every team wants to win but then, sometimes you don’t get the result you expected.
“In the match against Rangers, we’re going to work much better to pick a point or all three in Enugu. It is achievable and we remain focused. Thank God for the Nigerian league of today, any good team can go and pick points away. So, we’re very optimistic that we will get a good result in Enugu to make up for the [three straight] draws.”
Windy also admitted that the clash with Dakkada proved tougher than expected.
“Well, as a matter of fact, it is not the result we expected but then it is football. It is not every game that you can win. There are some games that you may even expect a win but at the end of the day you lose out or play a draw. Considering the fact that it is a derby game, we really expected a tough game. When two friendly teams are playing, expect nothing more than what you saw. It was a difficult game but we thank God. A point is still very valuable.”
The two teams both play home matches at Godswill Akpabio Stadium, but Wednesday’s meeting was listed as an Akwa United home game.
And the two-time Aiteo Cup champions, whose head coach Kennedy Boboye did not join the post-match conference, twice came from behind to earn a point — and a third consecutive draw in the league.
Unlike the first meeting in December, the derby was littered with breathtaking moments. Dakkada dominated play and Jean Efala was by far the busier of the goalkeepers.
Moses fired Caleb Esu’s side into the lead in the ninth minute with his fifth goal of the season. Ndifreke Effiong equalized from the penalty spot, before Eso Archibong restored the lead in the 80th minute when he curled beyond goalkeeper Jean Efala and into the back of the net from the edge of the box after rounding Denis Nya. But just when the newly promoted team thought they’d secured all three points, Effiong headed in to ensure a share of the spoils.
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