Abia Warriors brightened their chances of beating the drop with a hard fought 2-2 draw away to Akwa United at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo on Monday.
With Akwa United already through to the playoff, it was expected the team would drop some of their key players in preparation for the tourney. Ndifreke Effiong was not part of the matchday squad, as a result of condition that facilitated his transfer to the Uyo side.
The visitors kept faith with 10 of the 11 players who were part of the team that defeated El-Kanemi Warriors on Matchday 20. Only alteration was Anthony Okemmiri replacing Paul Samson.
Abia Warriors took the lead, just moments before the half hour, when Fatai Abdullahi finished off a scintillating team work, 15 yards off, to set the tone for what would be a pulsating fixture.
The home side responded quickly on 31 minutes, when Godspower Aniefiok guided Wisdom Fernando’s brilliant cross past Joshua Enaholo for the equalizer, both sides would settle for the spoils as the first half came to an end.
With nine minutes to time, Abia Warriors went in front again. Substitute Obi Samson got to the end of a poorly directed pass, to slide in between Akwa defenders, before squeezing past goalkeeper, Emmanuel Iwu.
Akwa United rallied late, to avert a repeat of their Matchday 1 defeat at home to El-Kanemi Warriors. Substitute Ocheme Edoh raced ahead of others to head home Aniefiok Godspower’s cross from close range, to level terms. It was Ocheme’s first goal of the campaign.
The result keeps Akwa United top of the Group B log with 38 points, one better than Kano Pillars, going into the final day of the regular season.
Abia Warriors also moved a place above the relegation zone, with hopes of beating the drop on Matchday 22 when they host Kano Pillars at the Umuahia Township Stadium.