Newly Promoted Bendel Insurance made a bold statement on their return to the Nigerian Premier Football League with a stunning 2-0 win over Akwa United in the 2022/23 season opener at the Nest of Champions in Uyo, reports PUNCH Sports Extra.
After a cautious start to the game, Imade Osarenkhoe put Benin’s Arsenal ahead on 40 minutes, before Divine Nwachukwu doubled the lead four minutes later to give the visitors a 2–0 half-time lead.
The hosts dictated the pace of the second 45 minutes looking for a way back into the game in front of their apprehensive fans, but Seguros held on to record a famous win on their return to the top flight.
Bendel Insurance manager Monday Odigie believes his team took a gamble, despite sustained pressure from the hosts.
“NPFL is a big, tough league. Regardless of the result in our favor, we are going to work on our weakness again and mentally strengthen the guys. Our opponents were more tactical and experienced. Faith just smiled at us and we took our chances and were also lucky to walk away with a 2-0 win. We will return to better prepare ourselves to face stronger challenges”, said Odigie.
Akwa United manager Deji Ayeni, however, lamented his players’ mistakes.
“We made a lot of mistakes and the god of football was not on our side. The defeat of the first game and at home 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 the players. My boys are not bad. The only thing left to do is to mentalize the players to be able to recover from the scare and face the challenges of the future well”, said Ayeni.
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