Bendel Insurance of Benin marked their return to the elite league with a steely performance that earned all three points on the road at Akwa United.
But a surprised Coach Monday Odigie said the result was not a true reflection of the action on the pitch and described Akwa United as the better side in the game.
Goals by Imade Osarenkhoe in the 40th minute and Divine Nwachukwu on 44th sealed victory for the Edo Arsenal on the opening match of the NPFL season.
Responding to questions at the post-match conference, Odigie who was still looking like he didn’t believe the match outcome, said, “I am happy we won but the truth is that we were lucky to have taken our chances.
“Akwa United had experienced players, their game plan was better which explains why we were always under pressure “, Odigie noted.
He however commended his players for the emotional and psychological strength to have withstood the pressure.
“When we played in the pre-season tournament in Lagos, we didn’t do well and took the lessons back for correction
“We needed to build their psychological strength and mental conditioning to play in the top league where you have tough clubs like Akwa United, Enyimba, Plateau United. It worked in this match but we are not there yet, there’s a lot more to do”, Odigie stated.
When told of the heroics of goalkeeper Anas Obasogie who thwarted Akwa United’s efforts at goal, Odigie attributed the win to team work.
He said, “You can see everyone contributed to the defence of the goal, it was not the goalkeeper alone but I acknowledge his contribution also”.
It was a result that sent the fans to quietly scramble for the exit after Akwa United failed to make the added time of six minutes count.
The match was watched by the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Ibrahim Gusau, Chairman of the NPFL Interim Management Committee (IMC), Hon Gbenga Elegbeleye and members of the IMC.