History repeats itself as newly-promoted Bendel Insurance serve Akwa United heartbreak in Uyo

NPFL 2023: Akwa United 0-2 Bendel Insurance

NPFL History repeats itself as newly-promoted Bendel Insurance serve Akwa United heartbreak in Uyo

Jidechi Chidiezie 19:52 - 08.01.2023

Former UNIBEN Royal striker Imade Osarenkhoe scored the first goal of the 2023 season.

Lightening struck for a second time in two years in the NPFL, as newly promoted Bendel Insurance stunned hosts Akwa United to a 2-0 scoreline at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo on Sunday.

The match, which was the first of the 2023 season recorded a similar occurrence to the start of the 2022 season which also saw a newly promoted side, snatch the first three points of the season, and do it away from home.

For Insurance, it was their first match in the top flight since being relegated to the Nigeria National League (NNL) three years ago.

Osehenkhoe, Sarki give Insurance dream start

The curtain raiser for the new season failed to disappoint as goals began to pour in even before the interval.

Bendel Insurance's victory now see them lead one of the two 2023 NPFL groups

Five minutes past the half-hour mark, the hosts found themselves behind as former UNIBEN Royal striker Imade Osarenkhoe connected to a pass sent into Akwa United's box, to give Insurance a 1-0 lead, making him the first goal scorer of the new season.

Just as Akwa United tried to get themselves back into the game, Insurance struck again in the 43rd minute, this time, Ismael Seriki tucking the ball in from close range after a goalkeeping error by Akwa United’s Godgift Elkanah.

It became the first time since April 2016 that Akwa United conceded 2+ first-half goals at home in the NPFL.

Bendel Insurance lead Group A

With the second half entertaining no goals, the Benin-based club picked all three points at full-time to go top of Group A.

On Gameweek 2, Bendel Insurance will be at home to another former league champions when they host Plateau United

The defeat for Akwa United is also similar to the 2019 season - the last time the NPFL was played in an abridged format - when they lost their first of the season to El Kanemi Warriors.

For Bendel Insurance, the victory mean that they have now scored 2+ away goals in the NPFL for the first time since they lost 3-2 at Zamfara United in October 2007.

Nine more matches, all scheduled for next weekend will mark the completion of the game week one of the 2023 season.