Wildcard entrants, Akwa United, are through to the semi-finals of the Naija Super 8 tournament thanks to a 1-0 win over Rivers United at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena on Monday.
Uche Collins grabbed the only goal of the game in the 57th minute to guide the Promise Keepers, now led by former Rivers United coach, Fatai Oso, to their second win of the tournament.
The striker followed up a long pass and slotted home through the legs of Abiodun Akande, in goal for Rivers United, condemning Stanley Eguma’s side to an early elimination from the tournament.
Rivers had lost their opening match 2-1 to Lobi Stars on Saturday and a win over Yobe Desert Stars in their last game will not make any difference.
“It was a good one for us. Our goal from the start was to advance from that group and we have achieved that already. But we are not comfortable yet, we have to raise the bar a little bit to win the title. Rivers United have the quality but we did one or two things to slow them down, especially in the second half,” Akwa coach, Oso, said after the game.
Earlier, Yobe held Lobi Stars to a goalless draw in a cagey encounter. The match produced little goal scoring chances, as most of the action took place in the middle of the park.
The closest both teams came to a goal was in the 90th minute when Lobi goalkeeper, Lucky Jimoh, parried a powerful header over the bar, to deny Yobe a late winner.
Reacting to the result of the match, Yobe coach, Emmanuel Olowo, said, “For this game, we told the boys to keep it together at the back, that as much as they want to score, they should not concede. This is the kind of game you don’t want to lose because if you do, you are out. The boys did their best. This point gives a slight hope of qualification.”
With the results, Akwa sit top of Group B with six points, Lobi are second with four points and Yobe are third with one point.
The Damaturu side Yobe now have a tiny chance of making it into the next round if they beat Rivers in their last group game, while they will also expect Akwa United to beat Lobi Stars.
The fate of Group A teams will also be decided on Tuesday (today) as NPFL champions, Enyimba, take on Katsina United while Remo Stars will battle Sporting Lagos.
A win will save Remo from any drama as they go into the semi-finals. A draw might be enough as well but will depend on the outcome of other group matches. Enyimba must also beat Katsina United to revive their campaign.
A win for Katsina over Enyimba will however compound things for Remo, as Usman Abdallah’s side will have the chance to go up to five points or seven points when they face Sporting in the last group game on Thursday.
Naija Super 8 is organised by Flykite Productions in partnership with MultiChoice Nigeria and sponsors, MTN, Hero Lager, DStv, GOtv, SuperSport, Moniepoint, Pepsi and Custodian Assurance.