NPFL: Rangers Extend Lead, Ikorodu United’s Struggle Continues
Matchday nine of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) produced 21 goals (2.1 goals per game), six home wins, three draws and one away victory.
Enugu Rangers consolidated their lead on top of the league table to two points with a hard fought 2-1 win against oriental rivals Enyimba FC of Aba.
Joseph Osadiaye got the champions in front in the 14th minute, when he curled in Ikechukwu Ibenegbu’s lofty pass from the edge of the area. Godwin Aguda levelled terms for the Flying Antelopes in the 21st minute from a Bobby Clement assist. Clement again turned provider for Chisom Egubuchulam, who finished it with a fine goal eight minutes to the break.
In Owerri, Heartland FC saw off a difficult Giwa FC challenge with a 2-0 win, which saw Roland Koffi smashing home a cracker at the death.
Shagari Mohammed was the hero in Kano, providing assists for Prince Aggreh and Suleman Usman to slot in the goals in the 28th and 47th minutes respectively. Pillars move into second place on the log.
In Jos, MFM FC played 1-1 away to Plateau United. The result increases pressure on head coach, Zachary Baraje, who has been asked to spring results or face the music.
Federation Cup champions, Akwa United, held Wikki Tourists to a barren draw at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi, despite being without their technical adviser, Maurice Cooreman, who failed to travel with the team due to illness. The home side will have Godwin Obaje to blame for failing to convert outright opportunities in the opening half.
In Akure, Tope Orelope’s equalizer in the 63rd minute, appeared to have secured a point for Shooting Stars, but that was not the outcome, as the Akure Gunners snatched a late winner through Okiki Afolabi. Dele Olorundare also had a goal to his name in the sixth minute.
Elsewhere, Abia Warriors grabbed a narrow 1-0 win at home to Niger Tornadoes, at the Umuahia Township Stadium through Chisom Chikatara’s late goal. Ladan Bosso’s El-Kanemi side thrashed Nasarawa United 3-0 in Katsina, while Warri Wolves drew goalless with visiting Lobi Stars at the Warrior Township Stadium.
Rivers United appear to have finally found their rhythm, edging newcomers Ikorodu United in a five-goal thriller at the Onikan Waterfront.
Guy Kuemian got the visitors in front, in the ninth minute before the home side levelled terms through Ifegwu Ojukwu just before the quarter of an hour mark. Nonso Okonkwo and Wilson Andoh put the game beyond the Lagos side before the break, with stunning goals.
Ikorodu United’s late chase only aided them to reduce the deficit through Ojukwu, before end of proceedings. But Ojukwu’s brace proved too little to help them avoid a fifth defeat on the bounce as they drop to second from bottom.
After the game, new technical adviser, Sam Okpodu described the team as young and inexperienced.
”This team has a lot of learning to do and with time they will understand themselves and start getting the desired results” he concluded.