BY GODWIN AIKIGBE
Akwa United head coach, Abdul Maikaba is confident his team will overturn their 2-1 deficit against Hawks FC in Banjul when both teams clash in the CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round second leg tie on Wednesday 22nd February 2018.
Muhammed Jallow and Lamin Charity scored early in the first half to put the Gambians two goals up before Victor Mbaoma pulled on back to Akwa United during the first leg at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Sunday.
The result leaves the Aiteo Cup champions with a mountain to climb on the road, but Maikaba speaking after the game said his charges can win in Gambia and progress to the next stage of the series.
He said: “I presented my best team and they did well in all the department except in getting the ball into the back of the net. This same squad can still do the assignment by getting a result in Gambia. The early goal put pressure on my players and disturbed them psychologically but we know that we have a point to prove in the second leg.”
His Hawks counterpart, attested to Akwa United’s quality, stating that his team were lucky to come off with a win in Uyo.
“We played against a very good team and we were lucky to have won the match. But we know that this tie is not yet over. We will have to work very hard if we must qualify to the next round,” he said.
The Promise Keepers dominated their opponents throughout the game and created series of goal scoring chances, but they were denied by some excellent defending by Hawks defenders and goalkeeper Yankuba Calley.
Gambian Cup holders made good use of the two chances they had, Muhammed Jallow silenced the home fans in the 13th minute when he benefitted from a goalmouth scramble to tuck the ball into the back of the net.
Lamin Charity doubled the visitors lead in the 35th minute with a long range strike which beat Ojo Olorunleke in goal.
Akwa United’s persistent pressure paid off in the 76th minute when Victor Mbaoma kept his calm to tap home in a crowded Hawks defense.
It was Akwa United’s first defeat at home in 24 matches in all competitions, and have yet to record a win at the continental level at home in two attempts.