By Godwin Nathaniel
In the second match of the first day of action at the ongoing Presidency Pre-Season Cup at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Akwa United delivered a controlled perfomance to pip 10-man Lobi Stars 1-0.
With Akwa United still sulking from the bitterness of their continental disappointment, the NPFL champions named a very strong team with all regulars starting while Lobi Stars tested their might under newly appointed gaffer, Lord Eddy Dombraye.
Akwa United did not waste time to settle into the game. James Ajako had created an outlet down the left wing and bumped forward to create overloads down the Lobi right.
Lobi Stars struggled into impose themselves into the game but created half chances which were spurned.
Akwa United turned on their dominance to bear fruit when James Ajako moved to the right to send in a free kick into the box with his left foot. The delicate cross was parried by Stanley Nwanbali but it fell kindly to Ezekiel Bassey who slotted it into the net.
In the second period, Lobi Stars stepped up the challenge with the introduction of Chukwuka Onwouha. His vision helped Lobi create a number of chances with Daniel Jackson taking the lead upfront.
As tempo rose, tempers flared too, Joshua Akabueh got his marching orders with Lobi still chasing the game.
Akwa United in turn controlled the pace of the game with Friday Ubong and Dare Ojo asserting themselves in the game.
With a barren second half, Akwa United rode their luck and ended up on the winning side.
On matchday two, Akwa United will file out against Sunshine Stars while Lobi Stars will battle Kano Pillars.