Akwa United FC of Uyo spanked MFM FC of Lagos 5-2 on Sunday to land their first ever Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) title with star striker Charles Atshimene netting a hattrick.
The Promise Keepers were within one point of sealing the title with two games left in the season but they claimed maximum points against a usually dogged MFM side at the Nest of Champions, Uyo.
In the game watched by a global TV audience and attended by Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel, Akwa United were made to wait till the 24th minute before breaking the deadlock through Atshimene who headed home from close range after a goal line clearance fell for him.
United all but made the game safe in first half stoppage time when MFM defender Alimi Olalekan diverted Mfon Udoh’s low cross into his own net.
Udoh himself got on the score sheet just after the hour mark when he picked up Ubong Friday’s pass and slotted home into the bottom corner beyond MFM goalkeeper Abayomi Folarin.
MFM reduced the deficit in the 68th minute when substitute Michael Mbonu converted from the penalty spot after Denni Obasi was upended by Olisa Ndah inside the box.
With the game seamingly poised to end 3-1, Atshimene completed his brace when he chested home Etboy Akpan’s cross from close range before Dennis Obasi volleyed home for the visitors to make it 4-2.
Atshimene completed his hattrick in stoppage time when he finished off a team move to round off United’s title charge in the best possible way. Head coach Kennedy Boboye thus claims the league title as a manager for the second time after his triumph with Plateau United in 2017.
Akwa United, with veteran Sports journalist Paul Bassey as Chairman, will now represent Nigeria in the 2021/2022 CAF Champions League.
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