Nigeria Champions Akwa United began their title defence with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Kano Pillars on match-day 1 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Sunday.
The Promise Keepers took the lead in first-half stoppage time through Ezekiel Bassey who bundled in Stephen Chukwude’s flick-on at the far post.
Coach Kennedy Boboye’s team doubled their advantage in the 53rd minute when Stephen Chukwude slotted Ubong Friday’s low cross beyond Bassey Akpan in Kano Pillars’ goal.
Ubong Friday then put the icing on the cake in stoppage time. The winger cleverly beat Bassey Akpan with John Lazarus’ long pass before tucking the ball into an empty net to seal a resounding win for the defending Champions.
In a post-match press conference Coach, Kennedy Boboye congratulated his boys for the win and added that his team’s attention is now focused on the next game
We are happy that we have been able to get all three points from this game. We really wanted to win and we worked hard for it.
Kano Pillars are a strong side and we needed to be at our utmost best to beat them despite the fact that they stepped up their game in the second half. We played against them during the Presidential Cup Pre-season tournament in Abuja so we went into the game with a game plan and it worked for us. I really want to congratulate my players and all our fans for their wonderful support. We hope to continue working hard so we will be able to defend our title at the end of the season
It was the first time in six seasons that Akwa United won their opening day fixture and the win on Sunday was their eighth consecutive home victory over Kano Pillars.
Coach Boboye listed four of the new signings; James Ajako, Denis Nya, Stephen Chukwude and Ezekiel Bassey in the starting line-up and they gave a good accounts of themselves in what was a commanding performance and a resounding victory.
With one goal and one assist, Ubong Friday was unanimously voted Man-of-the-Match.
Akwa United will next travel to Ibadan to engage Shooting Stars Sport Club (3SC) on Match-day 2 this weekend.