set new club record
Akwa United put up a spectacular performance to end the season 4th on the table after a resounding 3-0 win at home over Kano Pillars on the last match of the season.
Musa Newman gave the Promise Keepers the lead in the 3rd minute when he calmly converted a penalty after Emmanuel Anyanwu’s foul on Cyril Olisema in the box.
Two more goals in the second half by Christian Pyagbara and Micheal Ibeh sealed the win as Akwa United posted a first league double over Pillars.
Akwa went into the match with a heavy burden needing a win while expecting Enyimba to drop points in Calabar in their favour for them to grab a continental berth and also to salvage some pride completing an unprecedented league double over Kano Pillars.
The match was far from a dead rubber match as the opening moments witnessed an explosive attacking football by both teams. But it was the home team’s swift move that picked out unmarked Cyril Olisema in Pillars box.
Kano Pillars defender Emmanuel Anyanwu’s attempt to clear the danger resulted in a late challenge on Olisema inside the box resulting in spot kick as signalled by referee Nworie Patrick. Musa Newman took the responsibility and converted his 11th of the season.
Akwa United engaged in midfield battle as Afemu Afeez, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi Ifeanyi and Cyril Olisema sized up Amos Gyang, Rabiu Ali and Lokosa Junior matching them force-for-force.
Both teams had great opportunity of giving their side the advantage but failed to capitalize as the first half ended 1-0 in favour Akwa.
Both sides resumed the second half with renewed vigour and determination but both goalkeepers were in good shape making some mesmerising saves.
Aremu Afeez wasted two scoring chances after cutting through Pillars defence but failing to hit target.
The Promise Keepers efforts however paid off in the 66th minute when Pyagbara finished off a typical Akwa United attacking move to double his team’s lead with his 6th goal of the season.
With two goals down and time running out, Coach Ibrahim Musa introduced Yusuf Magoro and Nazifi Yahaya into the game. Pillars rallied to reduce the deficit in the closing moments and managing two quick attempts through but Emmanuel Iwu did well to deny the northern opposition.
Coach Abdu Maikaba’s team gave their fans something special in stoppage time when substitute Micheal Ibeh started and finished a clever move in the box. He skipped past Pillars defense and fired beyond Yusuf Muhammad for his first league goal of the season and his team’s third of the match.
The win was Akwa United’s 17th victory of the season, their highest number of win in the league, with 46 goals which ensured they finished 4th on the log with 60 points- just one point short of a continental ticket.
It is the first time in club history that they have amassed more than 50 points finishing above the 14th position.