January, 30 2022.
Niger Tornadoes lost narrowly to League Champions 0 - 1 in one of the NPFL matchday 9 fixtures decided at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja
Leo Ezekiel solitary strike in the 66th minute secured the maximum three points for the visitors to mount pressure on table toppers.
The home side had the brighter start to the game as Martins Usule and Abiodun Adebayo tested Akwa United defence in the opening 4 minutes.
Akwa United's Evans Ogbonda was on ground to put through a delightful cross into the box but Stephen Chukwudi's effort from six yards went wide and in a disappointing miss.
Akwa United who seemed not to come to the party in the early minutes of the proceedings burst into live when they lunched a quick counter-attack through Seth Mayi, who set up Ubong Friday on goal but the skipper's low shot could not threaten GK Adeyinka who calmly gathered
Ahmadu Liman who was arguably the best player on the side of Niger Tornadoes mesmerised two markers before he played Martins Usule through but Akwa United defenders were on their toes and immediately cleared the danger before Martins Usule who was ready to pounce could arrive.
The hosts produced their closest effort on goal with few minutes before halftime whistle when Najeem Adeyinka powered a long range drive from 28 yards that beat Akwa goalie, Adewale Adeyinka, but the unlucky left back watched on as his strike agonisingly crashed against the cross bar.
With the end of the first half approaching, Coach Bala Abubakar sent in Nurudeen Jimoh in place of Idris Munir, before the half time, with score line still goalless as he tried to add spark to a blank-firing attack.
Both sides went into the break without a goal and two minutes into the second half, Tornadoes showed bright sparks with Musa Wakili forcing Akwa goalie, Adeyinka to yet another brilliant save. The goalie went down his left brilliantly to parry the ball out for a corner.
It was an end to end opportunity, as Tornadoes GK, Michael George pulled a brilliant one-on-one save against Ubong Friday, the Akwa Utd skipper saw his effort tamed by a brilliant piece of goalkeeping.
Coach Kennedy Boboye introduced some fresh legs on 60th minute as Orok Akarandut and Leo Ezekiel came on for Ezekiel Bassey and Stephen Chukwudi respectively.
Akwa United bench were thrown into a wild jubilation as Substitute Leo Ezekiel poked home from close range to break the deadlock for the visitors in the 66th minute.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Tornadoes lunched a counter through Shamsudeen Hashim and Musa Wakili with only Samson Gbadebo to beat and the rock solid defender produced a superb defensive effort to block a goal bound strike by Hashim to safety
Tornadoes poked and knocked as they searched for the equalizer but the resolute defence of Akwa United stood their ground to protect their slender lead as the game ended 0 - 1 in favour of the visitors.
Samson Gbadebo was adjudged the man of the match for producing a master class defensive effort that gifted Akwa United maximum three points on the road.