Ten-man Akwa United suffered a 3-0 defeat to league leaders Plateau United at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos on Sunday.
Plateau opened scoring in the 20th minute from the penalty spot after a poor attempt to clear the ball bounced off the arm of Ifeanyi Ifeanyi.
Referee Jonathan Zakariya needed no second opinions as he pointed to the spot and the kick was converted by Emmanuel James.
Moments after the restart, a tackle on Akwa United Midfielder, Musa Newman saw Ubong Friday get involved in a shoving bout with the culprit, Ogene Elijah.
The incident earned Friday a yellow card but further argument with the referee resulted in the winger being sent off in the 24th minute.
In a tactical move to contain the home team, Coach Abdu Maikaba replaced Cyril Olisema with Christopher Lolo in the 36th minute.
Despite the bad patches on the Rwang Pam turf, both teams managed to play a decent game.
In Particular, the introduction of Olisema helped Maikaba’s men get a grip on the contest as he combined well with Ifeanyi and Aremu to supply Musa Newman and Gabriel Okechukwu with some decent passes.
However, everything the visitors threw at the Plateau defence was repelled as the host went into the break with 1-0 lead.
When the second half resumed, Plateau United asserted their numerical advantage and mounted pressure on the visitors, playing long balls and making long throws into the vital area.
In a bid to capitalise on the aerial balls, Coach Kennedy Boboye introduced Kabiru Umar and the tallest player in the league Emeka Umeh.
Both Umeh and Umar put their height to good use towards the closing stages of the match.
Umeh headed in Daniel Itodo’s long throw in the 86th minute before Umar headed in a free kick deep into stoppage time to give the home team a comfortable 3-0 win.
The result ensured Plateau United remained on top of the log with 51 points from 28 matches while Akwa United slipped to 4th position, trailing the leaders with seven points, albeit with a game in hand.
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