2023 NPFL opener, Insurance stun Akwa in Uyo

Bendel Insurance Football Club of Benin began the 2022/23 Nigeria Premier Football League on a shock note as they stunned 2021 champions Akwa United 2-0 in front of their home fans at the Godswill Akpabio international Stadium.

Imade Osarenkhoe opened scoring for Insurance in the 39th minute of the game after connecting Divine Nwachukwu’s assist and struck to open the net without wasting time.

The host were yet to recover from the Imade’s shocker when Sarki Ismael doubled the lead for the visitor three minutes later after jabbing in a poorly cleared ball by Akwa Utd backline and Goalkeeper to complete the task for the visitors.

The Benin Arsenal took the huge two goals advantage into the break.

On resumption, the home team tactician Deji Ayeni made two quick substitutions which changed the complexion of the game as the 2021 champions continued to mount pressure on Insurance but thanks to Insurance defence strongmen Benjamin Tanimu and the goalkeeper Amas Obasogie who were extraordinary on duty, the scoreline remained the same till the end of the game.

In a post match interview, Insurance handler Coach Odigie said he was happy to begin the League on a very bright note. He however admitted that his side was lucky to convert their chances,saying that his opponents were more tactical.

“NPFL is a big and tough League. Irrespective of the result in our favour, we are going back to work on our weakness and strengthen the boys mentally. Our opponents were more tactical and experienced. Fate just smiled on us and we took our chances, and also lucky to go away with the 2-0 victory. We will go back to prepare better ahead of stronger challenges we expect to meet.” Odigie said.

On the other hand Akwa Utd coach Deji Ayeni said his boys made some costly mistakes in the first half.
“We made a lot of mistakes and the god of soccer was not on our side. First and home game loss is a wake up call. We were better in the second half but the damage was already done in the first half. No team is invincible. It depends on the response of players. My boys are not bad. We only need to psych the players up to be able to recover from the shock and face future challenges well.” He stressed.

The rest of the week 1 fixtures has been delayed by one week.