Vandrezzer FC narrowly lost 1-0 to Abia Warriors in a preseason friendly at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on their return to action since the COVID-19 lockdown.
Coach Rafael Everton surprisingly started with a back four of Onyekachi Akakem and Ekerete Udom who last season played as a striker, David Mark and Samuel Edoho.
Abia Warriors started strongly, dominating the first ten minutes and were duly rewarded with a goal in the 10th minute, Bello Lukman tapping in from the far post.
Vandrezzer FC had chances to level the scores, midfielder Alberico Da Silva went close twice in the first half. Striker Victor Akra missed a glorious chance after Abia Warriors goalkeeper Ojo Olorunleke misplaced a pass but Akra missed the chance, shooting his effort at the goalkeeper.
The Abia Warlords held on to secure the win as they prepare for the season opener against city rivals Enyimba next weekend the NPFL season starts.
Vandrezzer FC coach Rafael Everton said his team needs more friendly matches to regain their match fitness.
“It is the first game for us,” Everton said during the post-match press conference “We’ve had only a few weeks of training but our opponents have played in two preseason tournaments. The boys did well and had chances to score goals, that’s football and I believe we can do better.
“We need to work on the defensive line, it is the first game since returning from the COVID-19 break, I hope we can work on some things in training and do better in subsequent games.
“We need friendly matches to get the players ready when the league eventually start.”
Everton gave new signing Ivo Junior his first outing for Vandrezzer FC, but said the Brazilian midfielder needs time to adapt to his new teammates.
“It is the first game for him (Ivo Junior), this is a different environment which he has to adapt and I hope when the league starts, he will be ready to help us.”
A happy looking head coach of Abia Warriors, Coach Willie Ndube said his players are gradually getting grasp of the philosophy and how he wants them to play.
“I am delighted because my boys played to instructions, the philosophy that we are trying to put into them, they are getting it gradually, so it is a work in progress.
“We have a philosophy that we must play, when you lose the ball, we mark and retrieve the ball within seven to eight seconds, for the opponent to have the ball for two minutes, it is not our orientation. So, if we lose the ball, we must mark to win it back.
“We are looking forward to get a continental ticket and that is why we are preparing very hard for it,” Coach Ndube said.
Copyright 2020 The Athletic NG. Permission to use this article or any part of it is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.theathletic.com.ng as the source.