Akwa United were stunned in front of their home fans in Uyo when a last gasp goal by Ba’akaka Ajikolo earned El-Kanemi Warriors a 1-0 win at the Nest of Champions. Former champions Enyimba were the biggest winners on Match Day 1, a 2-0 win over MFM in Aba.
Akwa United dominated the headlines in pre-season with eye catching signings and effective branding moves but after labouring in vain to get a goal, their hearts were shattered in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Ajikolo profted from goalkeeper Ojo Olorunleke’s mistake to score.
There were no such worries for 2015 champions Enyimba in Aba two goals – one in each half – past MFM in their Group A opener. Defender Nelson Ogbonnaya headed the People’s Elephant in front in the thirteenth minute before Abdulrahman Bashir scored a header of his in the 53rd minute to seal Enyimba’s win.
The only other game that held in Group A ended in a draw; Kabiru Dogo leading his new team Sunshine Stars to a 1-1 result at Kwara United in Ilorin. Dogo who was a favourite while at ABS FC of Ilorin saw his side go ahead just before half time through Franklyn Sasere. Goalkeeper David Ariyo had earlier saved Segun Alebiosu’s spot kick.
United pulled level when full back Seun Olulayo put through his own net in the 70th minute but neither of the two sides could find a winner.
In Akwa United’s Group B, Nasarawa United and Kano Pillars enjoyed 1-0 wins at home on opening day. The Solid Miners edged Abia Warriors courtesy of Abdullahi Abubakar’s first half effort while Pillars relied on Chinedu Sunday’s first half effort to beat Heartland at the Sani Abacha Stadium.
The group’s other game ended in a stalemate at the Jos Stadium, Zaria road. 2017 champions Plateau United were frustrated by FC Ifeanyiubah in Abdu Maikaba’s first game in charge of the Tin City side.
The next round of league action will take place on Wednesday.
Kwara United 1-1 Sunshine Stars
Enyimba 2-0 MFM FC
Nasarawa United 1-0 Abia Warriors
Plateau United 0-0 FC Ifeanyiubah
Kano Pillars 1-0 Heartland
Akwa United 0-1 El-Kanemi Warriors