Victor Mbaoma tucked in a last minute effort as defending champions Akwa United edged past hard fighting Kogi United in the Matchday two of 2018 Aiteo Cup group stage clash in Aba on Wednesday.
Kogi United produced a spirited performance to ward off series of attacks from Akwa but could not stop Barnabas Imenger’s pass from getting to Mbaoma who beat Sheshere with a cool finish.
Coach Tunde Abdulrahman make only change from the team that forced Nasarawa United to a goaless draw on Monday with Victor Tale coming to replace Abubakar Danlami -who was drafted to central midfield in place of Kingsley Ogwuche- at right back.
Kogi United were the first to drew the first blood within two minutes into the game when Denis Nya blocked John Jerome’s goal bound effort.
READ ALSO 15 teams for Bet9ja 2018 Lagos SWAN Cup
Akwa United could have being in front but Mbaoma failed to capitalize on Sheshere’s howler.
Jerome also had a chance to score for the confluence state boys but his shot was cleared on the line by Nya.
Akwa United dominated the remainder of first half but fell short of finding a way through.
The champions were the better side of the second half with series of scoring chances created but lacked the initiative to break.
Ubong Friday, Aniekeme Asuquo and Mbaoma all had their moments to take shoot Akwa in front but the youthful Kogi United side kept them at bay.
Akwa United’s goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo was called to action on two occasions as he denied Ibrahim Enesi from causing upset against the defending champions.
Just when Kogi United thought they have secured a famous point against Akwa United, Imenger appeared with a magical moment as he beat the offside trap before feeding Mbaoma who calmly placed the beyond Sheshere’s reach and secure the full match points for Akwa United.
Head Coach of Kogi United, Tunde Abdulrahman who described the defeat as painful commended his wards for sticking to the match tactics which almost earned his side a point.
Abdulrahman said the goal was as a result of loss concentration from his boys adding that Kogi United would improve their performance in the last game against Wikki Tourists on Friday to stand a chance of progressing to the quarterfinals of the competition.
“It’s a painful result because we should have earn a point, I think it was just moment of loss concentration, the defender left his and allowed Imenger to cross, but I’m happy with our overall performance from us.
“Its not that over for us, if the team played the way we approached today’s game, I think we stand a chance of beating Wikki.”