Akwa United Emerge 2021 NPFL Champions
By Adedapo Adesanya
Akwa United was on Sunday crowned champions of the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) after defeating Mountain of Fire Ministries (MFM) FC with one game left to play at the top-flight competition.
The Promise Keepers defeated the Olukoya Boys 5-2 on home soil at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Akwa-Ibom to secure their first-ever league title.
The star of the match was Charles Atshimene who scored a hat-trick of goals to leave MFM FC winless in their last eight away matches.
Atshimene opened the scoring in the 24th minute followed by Alimi Adebayo’s own goal on the stroke of half-time which gave Kennedy Boboye coached side a two-goal advantage at the break.
Akwa United continued their goal-fest after the restart with Mfon Udoh making it 3-0 in the 62nd minute. In the 68th minute of the match, MFM pulled one goal back through a penalty converted by Michael Mbonu.
The game’s hero, Atshimene, extended the gap as he scored his second of the match in the 87th minute.
The Olukoya Boys responded four minutes later with their second goal in the encounter courtesy of Dennis Obasi in the 91st minute to make it 4-2.
To cap off the thrilling game, Atshimene got his hat-trick and 18th league goal of the season to complete the victory for the Promise Keepers in the 97th minute.
The win sealed Akwa United’s position at the top of the NPFL table with 71 points after 37 matches, nine points ahead of second-placed Nasarawa United, who are scheduled to play Enugu Rangers on Monday.
The triumph secured the Promise Keepers’ first-ever top-flight crown in their 25-year history and it has added to their trophy cabinet which has two FA Cups (2015 and 2017) and the Nigeria Super Cup (2016).
Akwa United will be hoping to stretch their nine-game unbeaten run and also end the 2020-21 campaign on a winning note when they visit Lobi Stars of Makurdi on Thursday.