Akwa United’s top-three finish ambition was dealt a massive blow by FC Ifeanyiubah, who handed them a 1-0 defeat at Nnewi on Sunday in a matchday 35 fixture.
And it was former youth international, King Osanga, who emerged hero on the night with an extraordinary slice of a free kick two minutes after the break that handed the home side all three points on offer.
The Anambra Warriors thus kept their continental ambition alive as they now moved to third position with 53 points following Enyimba defeat at Rivers United.
After an uneventful first half, which produced no goal, the two sides resumed hostilities, but before they could settle down, an FC Ifeanyiubah attacker was impeded near the area and Osanga stepped forward to slice the ball into the bottom corner.
The visitors had been reduced to 10-men on the stroke of 44 minutes when Kodjo Dadzie was sent off following a second booking.
But the visitors sparked back into life after the goal despite their numerical disadvantage, even though most of the time they fired from distance as they found the home team’s back four difficult to break down.
Substitute Bright Onyedikachi came close to doubling the home team’s lead on 81 minutes, when he let go a fierce left-footed drive from distance, but goalkeeper Emmanuel Iwu did well to tip the effort for a corner.