The second edition of the Akarachi Mbaike Unity Cup began with funfair at the Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu Stadium, Iho Dimeze, Ikeduru with Team Iho Dimeze defeating Team Uzoagba 4-1 in the opening game played on Monday December 13th.
Akuonye Iwueze was the star of the game after he scored three goals that helped Team Iho Dimeze to scale through to the second round of the tournament.
The opening game was graced by the creme de la creme in politics and royal fathers in the Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Federal Constituency and even beyond including former Iwuanyanwu Nationale Chairman, Prince Lemmy Akakem, APC chieftain, Chief Charles Amadi, Transition Committee Chairman, Ikeduru LGA, Tony Jude Opara and of course, the sponsor of the competition, Engr. Akarachi Amadi, among others made the opening fixture a grand ceremony.
The game started with Iho Dimeze dictating the pace in the early minutes but were unable to penetrate through the defence of their opponent. They were made to pay for their early minutes profligacy when Team Uzoagba’s Mmegwa Bekee fired the ball beyond the reach of Team Iho’s goalkeeper in the 18th minute when his defence were caught ball watching thinking the striker was in an offside position.
The curtain-raiser generated heated argument but the centre referee stood his ground.
Team Iho continued from where they stopped before they conceded the opening goal and were rewarded with two quick goals in the 26th and 29th minutes through the strikes of Akuonye Iwueze. They went into the half time leading the game 2-1.
At the resumption of the second half, Team Uzoagba rejigged their squad with the hope of leveling the tie but they conceded another goal in the 57th minute from the penalty spot converted by Iwueze for his hat trick for Team Iho Dimeze after the referee spotted an infringement in the Team Uzoagba’s 18 yard box.
Team Iho Dimeze increased the tally further to 4-1 through Udoka Simon in the 61st minute to ensure they extinguished thought of any comeback from their opponent.
Team Uzoagba were reduced to 10 players in the 66th minute when their captain, Kasarachi Ihejieto was cautioned twice in the space for one minute for dissent.
Earlier, at the end of the first half, the referee also yellow carded the coach of Team Iho, Stanley Ojor for his unprofessional conduct at match officials while protesting the legtimacy of the only goal scored by Team Uzoagba.
The game ended with Team Iho Dimeze winning the contest 4-1.
The tournament continues today, Tuesday December 14th with a game each at Mbaitoli and Ikeduru centres. At Ikeduru with venue at the Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu Stadium, Iho Team Amatta will face defending champions, Team Amaimo while at Mbaitoli with the venue at Ohuba Community Primary School Playing Field, Ubomiri will have Team Ogwa up against Team Ezinihitte.
The first round matches will be concluded on 19th December while the grand finale is on January 2nd, 2022.
Fixtures Of 2021/22 Akarachi Mbaike Unity Cup:
Uzoagba 1-4 Iho (13/12/21)
Amatta vs Amaimo (14/12/21)
Inyohi/Umudim vs Atta 1 (15/12/21)
Amakohia vs OUE (16/12/21)
Ngugo vs Atta 2 (17/12/21)
Avuvu vs Akabo (18/12/21)
Ogwa 1 vs Ezinihitte (14/12/21)
Ifakala vs Afara Eziama (15/12/21)
Ubomiri vs Orodo A (16/12/21)
Amike vs Ogwa 11 (17/12/21)
Ogbaku vs Umunoha/Asano (18/12/21)
Umuagwu Umunoha vs Orodo B (19/12/21)