Newly promoted side, Bendel Insurance stunned Akwa United 2-0 to kick-start the 2022/2023 abridged season of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) on Sunday.
Two quick-fire first half goals from Imade Osehenkhoe and Ismael Seriki put the Benin Arsenal on the front foot and they were able to hold on for a memorable opening day win in Uyo.
FT: Akwa United 0-2 Bendel Insurance #AKWBEN
Shock win for the newly promoted visitors.
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NPFL 2019 – Abridged League:
Match Day 1
Akwa United 0-1 El-Kanemi Warriors
End of group stage:
Akwa United into Super 6
El-Kanemi relegated into sweet NNL
Bendel Insurance be prayerful pic.twitter.com/e4TvatQhoJ
— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) January 8, 2023
Meanwhile, a reconciliatory meeting between the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Interim Management Committee (IMC) and the clubs on Thursday, prompted the postponement of nine other games, while this particular fixture was elected to go ahead.
Akwa United were huge favourites going into the curtain raiser but they failed to come to the party against a side who were playing their first topflight game in nearly four years.
While the Promise Keepers had more of the ball and created more chances, the visitors were dogged with their approach and took their chances when it mattered most.
Divine Nwanchukwu out-ran his marker before sending a low cross across the face of goal for Imade to score the game’s opening goal in the 38th minute.
Three minutes later Monday Odigie’s men doubled their advantage through Ismael to take a two-goal cushion into the break.
After the interval, the home side upped the tempo and camped in Insurance’s half but found the backline difficult to break down.
Insurance managed to keep Friday Ubong and the likes in Akwa United’s attack quiet to claim a first away win in the topflight in more than 18 years.
1️⃣ – Having failed to win any away game in their previous five seasons in the #NPFL, Insurance have won at the first attempt in the 2022/23 season – a first away win in the top-flight since 2005. New Dawn 🌅#NPFL21 pic.twitter.com/MWONZG1wmC
— Engineer Kowope (@Undisputed_Jsam) January 8, 2023
The rescheduled games are expected to go ahead next weekend to complete the opening round of the new season.