Rivers Utd, Akwa Utd contest ends in stalemate


Akwa United dropped two valuable points albeit away from home in their title chase after they were forced to a 1-1 draw by Rivers United at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium on Wednesday.

Striker Musa Newman gave the Promise Keepers a dream lead on 11 minutes when he sidefooted home a loose ball but United equalized three minutes later through Emeka Ogbugh's deflected header.

Akwa were then presented with a golden chance to take the lead on 20 minutes when Rivers goalkeeper Sunday Rotimi upended Newman inside the box. The ageless goalkeeper however make amends by saving Alhassan Ibrahim's spot kick.

Both teams came into this rescheduled Matchday 22 on the back of impressive home wins at the weekend and Akwa were able to recall the fit-again Ibrahim who missed Sunday's game due to a hamstring injury he copped at Abia Warriors eight days ago.

It was a game expected to be an enjoyable experience and it did not provide anything short as both teams, especially the visitors treated the fans at the stadium to the best of football artistry.

Fully aware of the arduous task that confront them, Rivers settled into the game quickly with Guy Keumian and Lukman Mohammed seeing their long range from efforts go over inside the opening ten minutes. Akwa however stunned their hosts with their first attempt on goal when Musa Newman who was lurking unmarked inside the box side-footed home Joseph Douhadji's stretched header after a punt into the box.

Left back Ali Chiwendu, back in favour at Rivers United after spending most of the season out of the side troubled the visitors with his set-piece delivery all through the game and United's equalizer came through one of such when Emeka Ogbugh's header to his free kick was deflected to the roof of the net. Rotimi, starting for Rivers since their CAF Confederation Cup Group A game against KCCA of Uganda on June 3 kept the scores level on 23 minutes when he dived to his left to deny Alhassan Ibrahim from the penalty spot as Akwa dominate.

Both teams ended up sharing the spoils the same way the reverse fixture ended in Uyo on Matchday 2.