It was a fight to finish as the South-South derby between defending champions, Akwa United and Rivers United ended in a 1-1 draw at the Nest of Champions in Uyo on Saturday.
The derby which kickstarted the second stanza of the 2021/22 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) saw Akwa United who had won their past two home meetings against the Pride of Rivers going down by a goal in the 17th minute when Kazie Enyinnaya put the ball in his own net.
Efforts by the home team to get back into the game in the first half failed to yield positive results as the first half ended 1-0.
At the restart of the second half, the new coach, Deji Ayeni who had made some tactical changes before the first half ended saw his side get back into the game as Adeyeye Adeyemi equalized for the champions on his debut following an assist from Etim Mathew.
Both sides continued to search for the winning goal but were unlucky as the game ended 1-1.
Rivers United remain top of the table with 43 points from 20 games while Akwa United are 6th on the table with 28 points.
Meanwhile, league action continues on Sunday when Sunshine Stars plays hosts to second-placed Plateau United while Kwara United welcome Remo Stars.
Shooting Stars will be guests to Nasarawa United while Enyimba will tackle Wikki Tourists.
Former champions, Lobi Stars and Enugu Rangers will square up tomorrow in Makurdi as Kano Pillars travel away to Gombe United.
Niger Tornadoes will take on Dakkada FC while MFM battle Heartland. However, Katsina United game against Abia Warriors has been postponed.