NPFL 19/20: Akwa Starlets draw in Asaba in NPFL opener

Akwa Starlets of Uyo commenced life in the Nigerian Professional Football League(NPFL) on a god note with a hard fought one all draw against Delta Force FC of Asaba in Asaba on Match Day 1 of the NPFL 2019/2020 season.

The home side flew out of the blocks in the first period but Akwa Starlets shook off early match jitters to wrest control of the game from their more experienced opponents, dominating play in midfield and creating a few dangerous moments in attack. Ifeanyi Ojukwu struck the upright in the first period from a dead ball, lifting the ball expertly over the wall but finding the upright with goal keeper Lukman Orire grasping at straws.

The first period ended in a stalemate but two minutes into second period, an unforced defensive error by Delta Force gifted the lead to the Starlets, with Ojukwu setting up Isaac George to score their first ever NPFL  goal and write his name in the annals of Starlet history  forever.

The home side responded to going behind by upping their game, a few inspired substitutions and a sharper attack line. Their efforts would pay off in the 78th minute when Bala Yahuza slotted past the Starlets goalie when the ball fell kindly for him in the box off a free kick.

Both teams settled for a point here but will both hope for all three points in their next encounters.

Speaking after the game, Deacon Caleb Esu speaking after the game bemoaned defensive errors that denied his team all three points away, noting that his team came to win and Delta Force were lucky to secure a point after 90 minutes

“I am elated, first things first I should give God thanks for this very result. We came to win and if not for the blunders we had at our defense it would have been a victory for us but all the same we give God the glory”.

Answering questions on the quality of play displayed by his little known side today, Coach Caleb noted that a right blend of experience and youth in their side forms the back bone to their play and is their major driving force.

“Well you just have to expect that have been together for a long time. You know there is continuity in the team, the bulk of players you are seeing is a mix of young and old and we are able to play together, there is a combination amongst them and we have been keeping that going even in our tactical approach towards the game and that is what worked for us in the game. We came here to win nothing else but fortunately for Delta Force they had the equalizer through our defensive errors. It’s a nice game and the boys gave a good account of themselves”.


Author: Victor Modo
Sports writer and photographer, and a lover of good football. I write opinion pieces and hope you read some one day.

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