Akwa United maintained their grip on top spot after thrashing visiting Wikki Tourists 4-0 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium on Sunday.
Wikki travelled to Uyo with a somewhat awful record, having not scored away to Akwa since 2012 — something coach Mbwas Mangut was hoping to change.
However, strikes from Ubong Friday, Victor Mbaoma, Michael Ibe and Christian Pyagbara handed Abdul Maikaba’s men their biggest win of the campaign — extending Wikki’s scoreless record at Akwa to six.
The home side showed intent from the start. They pressed high and did not give the guests an inch but they were made to wait till the 14th minute for the opening goal. After Wikki did well to thwart two attempts at goal, Ubong Friday thumped in a header off Gabriel Wassa’s cross.
Cyril Olisema should have doubled the lead after being released. The midfielder saw goalkeeper Haliru Sani save his chip before Wikki cleared their lines.
There were few attempts in the last 15 minutes of the half. Matthew Etim flashed his effort over the bar; and at the other end, Shammah Tanze failed to convert from a corner kick as his header went over the bar, while Victor Alegbe sent a weak shot straight into Olorunleke Ojo’s hands after being played in by Shammah Tanze.
The hosts, though, came out fired up after the interval, with the full backs pushing up more often than they did in the first half, and they were rewarded when Mbaoma latched on to a Ubong Friday’s through ball. The striker atoned for his earlier misses, beating Sani at his near post for Akwa United’s second goal of the evening and his fourth of the season.
Michael Ibe’s thunderous half-volley in the 82nd minute made it 3-0 and substitute Christian Pyagbara came off the bench to power home an header off Matthew Etim’s perfectly-weighted cross to cap a resounding performance by the Promise Keepers.
The result ensured Akwa are still a point ahead of defending Champions, Plateau United, who thrashed Sunshine Stars of Akure 5-0 in Jos.
Speaking after match, Maikaba attributed his team’s strong second-half performance to allowing his players take enough time to rest before the game.
“In our previous games, our second half have not been as good as today. We took a good rest and it paid off,” he said.
Maikaba worked with the Bauchi club two seasons ago. He believes that his knowledge of the Tourists team was useful to his side.
“I know Wikki Tourists and most of the players, that was why we dominated the game.”