How Akwa United impenetrable defence won 2020/21 NPFL title

How Akwa United impenetrable defence helped win 2020/21 NPFL title

According to the legendary former Manchester United coach, Sir Alex Ferguson who famously said “Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles” and this is apt in Akwa United as they won the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League season for the first time in their history.

Akwa United were crowned champions of the after producing a remarkable 5-2 victory over MFM FC in Uyo on matchday 37 in Uyo after confirming their intention to win the league after recording the longest unbeaten run of 18 games.

The Promise Keepers prior to their victory had only lost 4 games which were away games while drawing 14 more and secured 19 wins.

The Kennedy Boboye boys scored 47 goals, conceded 20 goals, kept 19 clean sheets while failing to score a goal in 9 games played in the domestic league this season.

The goals were scored by David Philip (1), Morice Chukwu (1), Ubong Friday (5). N Jibril (2), Marshal Johnson (1), S. Mayi (1) and S. Amadi (1).

Others are Charles Atshimene (18), Wisdom Fernando (1), Nwani Ikechukwu (2), Saidu Salisu (1), Ndifreke Udo (8) and Mfon Udoh (7)

According to statistics, the bulk of the goals scored came between 45th minute and 60th minute with the least goals scored within the first 15 minutes of the game while registering the best home and away record in the league.

Akwa United secured 51 points at home from 16 victories, 3 draws and 0 losses while securing 20 points from 3 wins, 11 draws and 4 losses.

Only 5 teams such as Kano Pillars, Rivers United, Lobi Stars and Kwara United including the champions went undefeated at home.

Meanwhile, the game against MFM saw Charles Atshimene capping a fine performance with a hat-trick and improved his goals count to 18 this season.

The Promise Keepers have also kept the most clean sheets this campaign.

This is the first time the Promise Keepers will be winning the NPFL title since the club was established 25 years ago. But it is the second time coach Kennedy Boboye will be winning the trophy, he also led Plateau United to win their first league title in 2017.

MFM came to Uyo in fine form after FC Ifeanyi Ubah 0-2 in Enugu in a rescheduled fixture to consolidate their position on the league table. A win over Akwa United in Uyo would have one they would relish but they knew it was an almost impossible task.

And 23 minutes into the match, man on fire, Charles Atshimene won an aerial battle and sent his header into the back of the net to give the hosts the lead.

With spectators at the Nest of Champions singing, dancing and hailing their team, the Promise Keepers came out in search of more goals. They mounted pressure on the visitors and forced an own goal just before half-time. Samuel Amadi’s effort was sent into the net by Ubukama Peter after good pressure by Charles Atshimene.

Akwa United’s star striker, Charles Atshimene took his goals to 18 with a hat-trick in the 24th, 85th and 90th minute as  Alimi Adebayo’s own goal in the 45th minute and Mfon Udoh’s strike in the 90th minute combined to ensure the resounding victory.

A seven-goal thriller and a maiden league title was quality football experience for spectators at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium who have waiting for this day since 1996 when the club was founded

In other week 37 matches decided yesterday, Buhari Ibrahim and Oche Ochowechi scored a goal each to hand Plateau United a 2-0 win over Dakkada in Jos, Emmanuel Ihezua’s solitary strike from the spot in the 6oth minute was enough to win the maximum points for relegation-threatened Warri Wolves against Heartland in Ozoro just as Mansoor Aliyu’s 40th-minute goals proved the match-winner for Katsina United against visiting Abia Warriors.

Week 37 matches will be rounded up today with key battles in Aba, Lafia and Kaduna where continental hopefuls Nasarawa United trade tackles with Rangers, Enyimba square up with Sunshine Stars and Pillars welcome Wikki Tourists.

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