NPFL 21: Just One Point For Akwa United To Become Champions

File photo of Akwa United Football Club before a league match.

 

Akwa United Football Club of Uyo is now one point away from being crowned champions of the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League season.

The Promise Keepers consolidated their push towards the league title playing 1-1 with FC Ifeanyi Ubah on matchday 36 in Nnewi, a vital point that will keep them ready for their next league assignment against MFM Football Club of Lagos. If they get a point or win that match in Uyo, they will win the NPFL title.

They have also sealed continental football for next season.

In the clash at Nnewi, Ubong Friday shot the league leaders into the lead in the 77th minute with a brilliant free-kick before Uzochukwu Ifejiofor headed the hosts back on level terms three minutes from time as both teams shared the spoils in a fixture that the Anambra Warriors needed a win so bad to consolidate on their efforts to stay in the NPFL.

Akwa United are on 68 points from 36 matches, with a massive goal difference of +27 and with just four losses so far, the league title is definitely theirs to lose.

Slim Hopes For Solid Miners, Enyimba & Pillars

In Uyo, a major league contender, Nasarawa United held Dakkada FC to a goalless draw to stay in the race for the title. The Solid Miners, the highest goalscoring team in the league did all they could to get the win but the Chosen Ones kept the visitors checked to secure a point.

With the result, Nasarawa United maintained their second spot on the log but improved to 62 points.

The only hope for coach Bala Nikyu’s team to stay in the race for the title is if Akwa United lose their next match against MFM FC and they win theirs against Rangers International on matchday 37 in Lafia. Dakkada moved to 9th on the table with 50 points.

 

 

Kano Pillars dropped to 4th on the log after a disappointing 1-0 loss at Kwara United. Michael Ohanu scored the only goal of the encounter for the Harmony Boys to keep their home invincibility, secured a 17th win of the season and returned to 6th on the log.

The defeat puts a bad dent on the league ambitions of Sai Masu Gida who can only hope to bounce back in their next fixture against Wikki Tourists. It means Enyimba will move to third position after playing 1-1 with Lobi Stars in Makurdi. In the opening minutes of the match, Samuel Tiza opened scoring for the hosts but just before half time, Reuben Bala scored from the spot for the People’s Elephant.

Drama, Intrigues & Goals

It was a festival of goals in Okigwe as Abia Warriors thrashed relegated Adamawa United 5-1 to keep hopes alive in retaining top-flight football.

Man on fire, Chukwuemeka Obioma, scored a hat-trick while Godwin Obaje and Yakub Hammed registered goals to secure the Warriors 11th win of the season and moved them to an almost safe 14th on the log with 44 points.

It was also goals galore in Bauchi as Wikki Tourists beat Heartland 4-2 to continue their fight against relegation. The Tourists are 15th on the log with 42 points and have a difficult task against Kano Pillars on matchday 37.

Sunshine Stars also strengthened their fight to avoid the drop with a 3-2 win over Plateau United. It was a game filled with drama and it started from the 80th minute. The hosts were leading 2-1 when the visitors won a penalty and missed it. In the 83rd minute, the Peace Boys were awarded another penalty in the 90th minute and this time it was scored by Zulkifilu Muhammed. Scores levelled!

In the closing minutes of additional time, Ejike Uzoenyi scored to give the Owena Whales a crucial win. The screams from the stadium was heard all over South-West Nigeria. It’s the 10th win of the season for Sunshine Stars, a team that has struggled with this campaign. They are now 16th on the log and if they can win their next match against Enyimba in Aba, they might be saved from relegation.

There was also drama in Lagos where MFM FC staged an unbelievable comeback against Rivers United. Nelson Esor and defender Joseph Onoja scored to give the Pride of Rivers a healthy 2-0 lead and just when they thought it was done and dusted, the Olukoya boys initiated a fight in the 90th minute. Imeh Atobasi pulled one back and minutes later, Michael Mbonu with a stunning strike rescued a point for the hosts.

In Enugu, Rangers International FC beat Katsina United 1-0 to record their 17th win of the season while Jigawa Golden Stars and Warri Wolves, two teams fighting relegation played 1-1 to wrap up matchday 36 action that produced 29 goals, five victories, and five draws.

NIGERIA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Matchday 36 Results

FC Ifeanyi Ubah 1 Akwa United 1

Dakkada FC 0 Nasarawa United 0

Kwara United 1 Kano Pillars 0

Lobi Stars 1 Enyimba 1

Abia Warriors 5 Adamawa United 1

Wikki Tourists 4 Heartland FC 2

Sunshine Stars 3 Plateau United 2

MFM FC 2 Rivers United 2

Rangers Int’l FC 1 Katsina Utd 0

Jigawa Golden Stars 1 Warri Wolves 1

NPFL 21: Akwa United Takes Bold Step Towards League Title

Akwa United line-up against Warri Wolves on matchday 34

 

Akwa United Football Club of Uyo have taken a bold step towards winning the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League title after a convincing 3-0 victory over Warri Wolves.

With the victory, the Promise Keepers have also opened a 6-point lead at the top of the table and it’s looking good for them because Kano Pillars and Nasarawa United recorded losses on matchday 34.

Warri Wolves, playing to avoid the drop were out of ideas on how to stop a team who were within touching distance to the league title. Seven minutes into the match, Ikechukwu Nwani fired a shot towards the goal and it was handled by Warri Wolves defender. Penalty to Akwa United. Charles Atshimene who is enjoying good form stepped up to the spot and scored his 13th goal of the season.

Nasarawa Utd line-up against Lobi Stars

 

The hosts weren’t done. They wanted more and kept pushing till they doubled the lead in the 26th minute. Samuel Amadi penetrated the visitors’ defense lie and combined well with Ubong Friday who curled the ball into the net. Akwa United took a 2-goal lead into the break.

When play resumed, the Promise Keepers continued were they stopped in the first. In the 58th minute, Samuel Amadi directed a delightful corner kick towards Atshimene, the striker followed with a beautiful header to secure his brace and a 3-0 lead for coach Kennedy Boboye’s team. It’s Atshimene’s 14th goal of the season and Akwa United’s 17th win of the campaign. The defeat is the 18th for Warri Wolves this season and a major setback to their relegation fight.

Rangers International Football Club recorded their 16th win of the season with a 2-0 win over Kano Pillars. It is a humbling defeat for Sai Masu Gida who also had league title ambitions with Akwa United just before the match. An early goal by Christian Nnaji gave the Flying Antelopes a good start to the encounter. Just before half-time, midfielder, Archibong Eso doubled the lead for coach Salisu Yusuf’s team. In the second half, they defended the goals to secure a vital win. Kano Pillars will remain in third position with 58 points.

At the Aper Aku Stadium, Nasarawa United put up a fight against Lobi Stars, but it was not just good enough to stop them from losing 3-2. Silas Nwankwo scored both goals for the Solid Miners to increase his goal count to 16 but his team will leave Makurdi with nothing. Mathias Martins also bagged a brace for Lobi but it was Austin Ogunye’s goal just at the start of second half that secured the win for Coach Kabiru Dogo’s team. They are now 7th on the log with 53 points. Nasarawa United maintains their 2nd spot with 58 points.

Lobi Stars line-up against Nasarawa Utd

 

At the Agege Stadium in Lagos, MFM FC beat Plateau United 3-1 to get into the top 10. The reliable Akanni Elijah scored a brace while Tunde Azeez goal in the 74th minute wrapped up a fine performance for the Olukoya Boys. Defender Ibrahim Buhari scored the only goal for Plateau United.

Rivers United’s hopes to return to the top four was dashed after they lost 2-1 to Jigawa Golden Stars while Abia Warriors proved they can fight to stay in the league with a 2-1 victory over Heartland FC. Meanwhile, the struggle of Sunshine Stars is not yet over. The Owena Whales played a goalless draw with Katsina United in Akure, putting themselves under more pressure as the relegation battle gets intense.

NIGERIA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Matchday 34 Results

Akwa United 3 Warri Wolves 0

Rangers Int’l FC 2 Kano Pillars 0

Lobi Stars 3 Nasarawa United 2

MFM FC 3 Plateau United 1

Jigawa Golden Stars 2 Rivers United 1

Abia Warriors 2 Heartland FC 1

Sunshine Stars 0 Katsina United 0

NPFL 21: Akwa United Beat Enyimba To Keep Title Winning Hopes Alive

 

Charles Atshimene scored a late penalty to give Akwa United a crucial 1-0 win over Enyimba FC, opened a five-point lead at the top, and took a huge step towards the league title.

The Nigeria Professional Football League matchday 32 fixture was played at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo. After matchday 31, the Promise Keepers maintained their top position but just two points kept them away from the impressive Kano Pillars and high-scoring Nasarawa United.

The first leg encounter, a matchday 12 fixture played in Aba ended 1-1. Defended, David Philip scored in the 94th minute to rescue a point for Akwa United after a spirited performance by the visitors. Enyimba got into today’s fixture to avenge that result.

It was a tense game and it was confirmed in the 12th minute when Marshall Johnson was pushed down and could not continue after receiving medical attention. He was replaced by Dare Ojo.

Moments later, Ikechukwu Nwani won an aerial ball and sets it up for Sampson Gbadebo whose low drive narrowly miss the target. Great attempt! Enyimba responded. Anayo Iwuala went down after being challenged by Olisa Ndah. Free kick to Enyimba. The effort couldn’t beat the wall, Samuel Amadi cleared it out to safety.

The first half ended goalless. In the second half, both sides went at each other but couldn’t find the goal. Akwa United created a chance in the 64th minute but didn’t take it. Gbadebo sent a long ball forward, Atshimene controlled it so well and set it up for Ubong Friday whose strike went across the face of the goal and goes wide. Enyimba initiated a fine move that ended with Iwuala releasing a shot but it was deflected into the side of the net.

In the 86th minute, Mfon Udoh had a good drive into the box and was brought down. Penalty to Akwa United! Atshimene stepped up to the spot and scored to give coach Kennedy Boboye’s team their 16th win of the season. It was also a record-breaking performance since 2013 (LMC era) for goalkeeper Adewale Adeyinka who recorded his 16th clean sheet of the season. Adeyinka broke Suraj Ayeleso’s record of 15 clean sheets for Nasarawa United in the 2016/2017 season. The Promise Keepers also consolidated their top position with 60 points while Enyimba will stay on 52 points.

 

Kano Pillars, Nasarawa United Setback

Before matchday 32 action, Kano Pillars and Nasarawa United, two major contenders for the top position with Akwa United, failed to close the gap. Both teams were hoping to continue their fine form from matchday 3-1. Pillars thrashed Lobi Stars 3-0 while Nasarawa United beat Jigawa Golden Stars 3-1.

In Akure, Kano Pillars went against a rejuvenated Sunshine Stars team. Beating Heartland FC 0-1 in Owerri in their last match, the Owena Whales, fighting to avoid the drop were ready to take the heat to Sai Masu Gida.

Coach Deji Ayeni retained the same team that stunned Heartland to secure a second away win this season and the team delivered. Babatunde Bello came close to open the scoring for the hosts in the 29th minute but Pillars goalkeeper stopped him. Ifegwu Ojukwu’s effort in the 40th minute was also stopped. The first half ended goalless.

When play resumed, Sunshine Stars kept knocking on the door of the visitors till they opened. In the 59th minute, the reliable Sadeeq Yusuf scored the only goal of the match to secure an important victory. It is Yusuf’s 12th goal of the season, the team’s 9th win of the campaign, and good enough to lift them off the relegation zone. The result dropped Kano Pillars to 4th on the log.

In Nnewi, FC Ifeanyi Ubah, also battling relegation, laboured to a 2-1 victory over Nasarawa United. The Anambra Warriors fell 3-0 to Katsina United in their last match, losing to the Solid Miners would have been disastrous to their league campaign.

The hosts played with intent and in the 29th minute took the lead through Nonso Nzediegwu’s goal. The visitors, playing with the top spot position agenda needed just 2 minutes to respond through Chigozie Obasi. The defender fired in a free-kick from 40 yards, his 4th goal of the season. 1-1. Game on!

It was a tight encounter with both sides in a desperate search for victory. The Solid Miners were reduced to ten men after Sadiq Abdurazaq received a second yellow card for a foul. The hosts capitalised on the man advantage and in the 70th minute, Uzochukwu Ifejiofor delivered the win for the Anambra Warriors to seal just their 8th victory of the season, they improved to 34 points but still rooted in the relegation zone. Nasarawa United retained the second position but now tied on 55 points with Rivers United and Kano Pillars.

 

Back To Winning Ways

At the Okigwe Township Stadium, after losing five consecutive matches, Abia Warriors returned to winning ways with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Kwara United. The Warriors have been struggling and had to dig deep to secure a win over a determined team from Ilorin.

With just five minutes into the encounter, Jide Fatokun stunned the hosts with a goal. It was a screamer! Early lead for the visitors and more worry for coach Imama Amapakabo. The visitors took the lead into the break.

In the second half, the Warriors deployed all they had in search of a goal and they found it in the 66th minute through Paul Samson. It was his 7th goal of the season. From the 80th minute, the match became a tale of Obioma Chukwuemeka.

In the 83rd minute, Chukwuemeka scored but the goal was disallowed. The home spectators couldn’t take it, they felt cheated. The deliberations on the canceled goal halted play for some time. When play resumed, Chukwuemeka took things personal.

He capitalised on a defensive error to shoot the hosts into the lead and the eventual winner. With the hard-fought victory, Abia Warriors, climbed to the 14 position with 38points while the Harmony Boys dropped to the 7th position on 52points. Up next for the Warriors will be Wikki Tourist of Bauchi in Bauchi.

At the Cathedral in Enugu, Rangers International Football Club also returned to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Wikki Tourists of Bauchi. The Flying Antelopes suffered a 2-0 defeat at Kwara United in their last match and another defeat would have dented their league ambitions. The game against Wikki Tourists was a good test on their character and consistency and they passed it.

An early goal by Godspower Anifiok got the hosts rolling. They sustained the momentum and moments later, Ugochukwu Ugwoke doubled the lead. An own-goal scored by Ernest Governor was the only consolation the visitors took back home. Another win for the Flying Antelopes, their 15th this season, they have gathered 52 points and 7th on the log.

Rivers United also got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over struggling Warri Wolves. The last result for the Pride of Rivers was a 1-1 draw with Enyimba in Aba and the matchday 32 objective was to consolidate on that result.

But it was the visitors who had the first laugh when Emmanuel Ihezuo gave them the lead. Rivers United responded through Godwin Aguda in the 23rd minute. Aguda completed his brace in the 60th minute to secure victory for coach Stanley Eguma’s team who are now 3rd on the log with 55 points.

In Makurdi, Nnamdi Mejuobi’s first-half goal gave Lobi Stars a 1-0 win over Adamawa United, Jigawa Golden Stars beat Plateau United 1-0 while the game between MFM FC and Katsina United in Lagos ended goalless.

On Saturday, Dakkada FC defeated Heartland FC 1-0 to record their 14th win of the season and moved to 9th on the league table. Matchday 32 recorded 17 goals, 9 wins and a draw.

 

NIGERIA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Matchday 32 Results

Sunday

Akwa United 1 Enyimba FC 0

Sunshine Stars 1 Kano Pillars 0

FC Ifeanyi Ubah 2 Nasarawa United 1

Abia Warriors 2 Kwara United 1

Rangers Int’l FC 2 Wikki Tourists 1

Rivers United 2 Warri Wolves 1

Lobi Stars 1 Adamawa United 0

Jigawa Golden Stars 1 Plateau United 0

MFM FC 0 Katsina United 0

 

Saturday

Dakkada FC 1 Heartland FC 0

NPFL 21: Kano Pillars Intensify Title Chase, Akwa Utd Earn Precious Away Point

Kano Pillars Players filling out for a league match.
Kano Pillars Players filling out for a league match.

 

Kano Pillars have reduced Akwa United’s lead at the top of the Nigeria Professional Football League table to just two points after beating Lobi Stars 3-0 at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna on matchday 31.

Umar Hassan, who is returning to the starting line-up for the first time since the league’s first stanza, opened the scoring for the hosts. It’s Hassan’s second goal of the season. Sai Masu Gida took the 1-0 lead into the break.

Kano Pillars have been formidable at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium and they proved it when the second half commenced. Lobi Stars were just trying to get their rhythm when David Ebuka doubled the lead for Pillars with a header from a corner kick.

In the 63rd minute, charismatic captain, Rabiu Ali scored the third goal and his 12th of the season to seal victory for Coach Ibrahim Musa’s team who are finely placed now to compete for the league title.

Precious Points For Akwa Utd, Sunshine Stars

At the New Jos Stadium, league leaders showed good character to hold Plateau United to a goalless draw. The Promise Keepers will keep the precious point as they chase for the league title heats up.

Coach Abdul Maikaba’s team lost 3-1 to Rivers United on matchday 30 and were in desperate need of a win but his former team defended so well to stop them. The brilliant goalkeeping by Adewale Adeyinka also deserves commendation. In the 68th minute, Nasiru Jibril was booked for a late challenge, free-kick to the hosts. The dangerous free-kick was saved by goalkeeper Adeyinka. In the final minutes of the match, goalkeeper Adeyinka also produced a triple save to deny the hosts.

Sunshine Stars of Akure confirmed their determination to stay in the league with a hard-fought 0-1 win over Heartland FC at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri. Ifegwu Ojukwu’s gave the Akure Gunners the precious win and the second away victory of the season as they continue the fight to avoid relegation.

Another team fighting relegation, Warri Wolves, also put up a good show to consolidate on their good performance in Aba against Enyimba on matchday 30. The Wolves were so close to winning in Aba, a late goal by Austin Oladapo rescued a point for Enyimba.

Rivers United line-up against Enyimba on matchday 31
Rivers United line-up against Enyimba on matchday 31

Their matchday 31 fixture against Abia Warriors was a rush. Under 10 minutes, they scored two goals and held on to it to record their 8th win of the season. For Abia Warriors, things are going from bad to worse, the last time the Warriors won a match was on matchday 27, a 2-0 win over Lobi Stars. With today’s result, Abia Warriors have lost five matches in a row now.

Sunshine Stars line up
Sunshine Stars line up

Home Advantage

At the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium in Katsina, Katsina United continued their fine form with a 3-0 win over struggling FC Ifeanyi Ubah. This is the third win in a row for the Changi Boys who have been on fire since stopping Akwa United’s unbeaten run on matchday 29.

The hosts completed the job in the first half. Samuel Kalu opened the scoring in the 25th and got his brace in the 30th. Five minutes later, the in-form Joseph Atule sealed victory for the Katsina-based team. They now have 40 points and secured 12 victories so far. This is the 14th defeat of the season for FC Ifeanyi Ubah and the Anambra Warriors have now dropped into the relegation zone.

In Ilorin, Kwara United continued their home dominance with a 2-0 win over Rangers International Football Club. It was a cagey affair in the first half with both sides creating chances but failed to score.

 

FThe game was still till the 63rd minute when Kabiru Balogun found the back of the net to give the hosts the lead. With four minutes of regulation time remaining, Farayola Olawale doubled the lead with a classic goal for the Harmony Boys. They held on to record their 15th win of the season and still look good to compete for the league title.

In Bauchi, Wikki Tourists ended the 4-game unbeaten run of Dakkada FC with a 2-1 victory over the Uyo based team. Nazifi Yahaya and Ibrahim Sale scored the goals for the hosts to seal their 9th win of the season.

Enyimba's striker, Tosin Omoyele contests for an aerial ball
Enyimba’s striker, Tosin Omoyele contests for an aerial ball

Shared Points

In Aba, Enyimba failed to win again. In their last game, they played 1-1 with Warri Wolves. Against Rivers United, it finished 1-1 again. Malachi Ohawuma gave the pride of Rivers the lead in the 33rd minute while Sadiq Abubakar equalized for the hosts in the second half. This is the 9th draw of the season for the People’s Elephant.

Enyimba FC line-up against Rivers United

At the Pantami Stadium in Gombe, MFM FC of Lagos fought from a goal down to play 1-1 with Adamawa United. As early as 4 minutes into the game, Bolaji Michael’s goal gave the hosts the lead and it stayed that way till the 72nd minute when Izuchukwu Chimezie equalized for the Olukoya Boys.

On Monday, Nasarawa United, the highest goalscoring team in the league so far will host Jigawa Golden Stars in Lafia. The Solid Miners have gathered 52 points from 30 matches and if they win, they will return to second on the league table.

MFM FC set for action at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe
MFM FC set for action at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe

NIGERIA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Matchday 31 Results

Kano Pillars 3 Lobi Stars 0

Plateau United 0 Akwa United 0

Heartland 0 Sunshine Stars 1

Warri Wolves 2 Abia Warriors 0

Katsina United 3 FC Ifeanyi Ubah 0

Kwara United 2 Rangers Int’l FC 0

Enyimba 1 Rivers United 1

Wikki Tourists 2 Dakkada FC 1

Adamawa United 1 MFM FC 1

Monday Fixture

Nasarawa United vs Jigawa Golden Stars

NPFL 21: Kwara Utd Earn Late Victory In Katsina, Nasarawa Utd Thrash Abia Warriors

 

Michael Ohanu scored a late goal in the closing minutes of the match to give Kwara United an important 1-2 victory over Katsina United on matchday 18 in the Nigeria Professional Football League.

The win also ensure the Harmony Boys maintain leadership of the league. Afeez Nasiru shot the visitors ahead in the 6th minute to give them a sweet start to the encounter. Just before the break, Joseph Atule scored to put the hosts back into the contest.

This is the second time, Coach Abdullahi Biffo’s team will secure maximum points on the road and continue to pass a strong message that they can compete for the league title.

Picture 2: Nasarawa United players in a warm-up session
Nasarawa United players in a warm-up session

In Lafia, it was goals galore. Nasarawa United player, Silas Nwankwo became the second player to score a hat-trick this season in the League.

Nwankwo was prolific as the Solid Miners spanked the Warriors 5-3 in Lafia to get their season back on track after a disappointing 2-0 loss to Rangers on matchday 17. Fatail Abdullahi opening scoring for the visitors, Ikenna Offor equalised for the hosts and opened the floodgates of goals.

Nwankwo scored the second goal for coach Bala Nikyu’s team but Godwin Obaje produced an instant response to level up for the Warriors. Nwankwo scored his brace in the 47th minute while Chinedu Ohanachom doubled the lead moments later. Abdullahi pulled one back from the spot but Nwankwo’s got his hat-trick in the 79th minute to seal a fine performance for the Solid Miners. The win takes them into the top four with 30 points.

In Uyo, it was a one-sided affair as Akwa United thrashed Lobi Stars 3-0 to take their unbeaten run to seven matches. The last time the Promise Keepers lost a league match was on matchday 10, a 2-1 defeat to Nasarawa United in Lafia.

Ikechukwu Nwani scored his second goal of the season to give the hosts the lead while Mfon Udoh’s brace all in the first half sealed victory for Coach Kennedy Boboye’s team who are enjoying good form. They are now third on the log with a game to play.

At the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna, Kano Pillars had to dig deep to beat Heartland 2-0. Ebuka David converted a goal in the 90th minute to make it 3 wins in 3 matches for Sai Masu Gida since the departure of Coach Lionel Soccioa.

Caption: Kwara United players preparing to take on Katsina United
Kwara United players preparing to take on Katsina United

In Port Harcourt, Rivers United beat Sunshine Stars by a single goal scored by Godwin Aguda in first half. Defeat for Sunshine Stars means they have gone 11 matches without a win and dropped to the relegation zone.

In Ozoro, Warri Wolves produced a class act to beat FC Ifeanyi Ubah 3-1. Uche Ihuarulam, Jackson Eru and Emeka Uzor. Christian Molokwu scored the consolatory goal for the visitors.

At the New Jos Stadium, Plateau United beat Rangers 2-1. Daniel Itodo scored the winner for coach Abdul Maikaba’s team after goals from Oche Ochowechi and Godspower Aniefiok ensured the score stayed 1-1 at half-time.

The game between Adamawa United and Wikki Tourists ended in a goalless draw.

NIGERIA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Matchday 18 Results (Sunday)

Katsina Utd 1 Kwara United 2

Nasarawa Utd 5 Abia Warriors 3

Akwa Utd 3 Lobi Stars 0

Warri Wolves 3 FC Ifeanyi Ubah 1

Plateau Utd 2 Rangers Int’l 1

Rivers Utd 1 Sunshine Stars 0

Adamawa United 0 Wikki Tourists 0

NPFL 21: Kano Pillars Claim Top Spot, Akwa Utd Hold Enyimba In Aba

The Kano Pillars during training.

 

Kano Pillars are the new leaders of the Nigeria Professional Football League after beating Sunshine Stars 1-0 at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna.

The midweek matchday 12 fixture had so much to offer both sides. Kano Pillars lost their last match 1-0 to Lobi Stars while Sunshine Stars played 1-1 with Heartland in Akure.

Nyima Nwagua’s goal in the 9th minute made the difference and also shot Sai Masu Gida to the top of the league table. It also secured a 7th win of the season for Coach Lionel Soccia team who are in a good position to compete for the league title.

For Sunshine Stars, it is the fifth defeat in 12 matches, one that will send Coach Gbenga Ogunbote into deep thinking on how to turn things around for the Akure Gunners.

In Aba, the spoils were shared as Enyimba and Akwa United played 1-1. In the first half, the visitors showed more intent to win the contest with Ndifreke Effiong, Charles Atshimene and Seth Mayi missing clear chances to score.

A major talking point happened in the 43rd minute when Charles Atshimene was hacked down by Abiodun Adebayo. Referee refused to book a penalty, instead, he booked Atshimene for simulation.

The first half ended goalless.

In the second half, the People’s Elephant showed more purpose going forward and it paid off in the 53rd minute when Austin Oladapo received a sweet pass from Cyril Olisema and finished calmly to put Enyimba in front.

Akwa United got close to getting the equaliser in the 79th minute. Etim Matthew sent in a cross, Atshimene connected with a fine header but goalkeeper John Noble produced a superb save to keep Enyimba’s lead.

In the last minute of extra time, Akwa United got their equaliser from an unlikely source. Left full back, David Philip followed the ball from a freekick and slot it home to score his first goal for the Promise Keepers and a vital away point.

In Ilorin, there was also late drama. Kwara United denied Abia Warriors their first away win of the season to secure their unbeaten home record. The Warriors took the lead in the 66th minute through Mustapha Jibrin and held on to it till the last minute of the match Alao Danbani scored to rescue a point for the Harmony boys.

In Jos, returning striker, Ibrahim Mustapha scored a brace for Plateau United in their 3-0 win over Jigawa Golden Stars.

Mustapha, who is making a return after a six-month stint in the United Arab Emirates, scored in the 21st and 43rd minutes of the match. Oche Ochewechi scored the opening goal in the 6th minute, displacing his markers and finished brilliantly from 35 yards. This is the 4th win of the season for coach Abdul Maikaba’s team.

Rangers of Enugu dropped to fifth on the log after losing 2-1 to Wikki Tourists in Bauchi. Mohammed Guda scored from the spot to give the hosts the lead. Israel Abia’s goal in the 60th minute put the Flying Antelope back into the contest.

Despite losing Peter Ambrose, the Tourists kept pushing for the win and got it in the fifth minute of added time through Ibrahim Sale. They showed Rangers the never say die attitude.

In Lafia, Nasarawa United beat FC Ifeanyi Ubah 3-0. Adamu Hassan bagged a brace as the Solid Miners recorded their fifth win of the season and moved to 7th on the log.

In Ozoro, Warri Wolves returned to winning ways with a 1-0 win over Rivers United. Emeka Udo’s goal made the difference.

Matchday 12 action will continue tomorrow with Katsina United taking on MFM FC, Adamawa United will host Lobi stars while Heartland FC will clash with Dakkada FC at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri.

NIGERIA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Matchday 12 Results (Wednesday)

Kano Pillars 1 Sunshine Stars 0

Enyimba 1 Akwa United 1

Kwara United 1 Abia Warriors 1

Plateau United 3 Jigawa Golden Stars 0

Wikki Tourists 2 Rangers Int’l FC 1

Nasarawa United 3 FC Ifeanyi Ubah 0

Warri Wolves 1 Rivers United 0

NPFL 21: Kwara Utd Continue Unbeaten Home Form, Nasarawa Utd Back To Winning Ways

Caption: Matchday 10 action between Kwara Utd and Dakkada FC in Ilorin

 

Kwara United continued their fantastic home run in the Nigeria Professional Football League with a 3-0 thrashing of Dakkada FC on matchday 10.

The Harmony Boys now occupy the top spot of the league with 21 points and remains the surprise package of the new season.

The match played at the Ilorin Sports Complex presented another opportunity for coach Abdullahi Biffo’s team to consolidate on their matchday 9 victory over Sunshine Stars in Akure.

The visitors, Dakkada was also pumped up after a 2-1 win over Abia Warriors in their last match in Uyo.

Wasiu Alalade opened scoring for the home side, Michael Ohanu doubled it in the 72nd minute with a sweet volley while Alao Danbani scored in the 80th minute to wrap up a fine win for the Harmony Boys who have secured 6 wins, 3 draws and just a loss in 10 matches.

In Lafia, Nasarawa United fought till they heard the sound of the final whistle to beat Akwa United 2-1.

With three defeats in a row for the Solid Miners, they were under pressure to bounce back to winning ways. The last time they won was on matchday 6, a 2-1 win over Warri Wolves in Ozoro. That was a record they desperately wanted to destroy and they came all out against Akwa United to do so.

Adama Hassan gave the home side the lead in the 56th minute. In the 63rd minute, Ndifreke Effiong scored his first away goal and his 7th of the campaign to put Akwa United back into the contest.

It seemed the game was heading for a draw until the 93rd minute when Ebuka Anaekwe hits a one-time shot that sent the ball into the net and sealed an unbelievable win for coach Bala Nikyu’s team.

At the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium, Katsina United beat Jigawa Golden Stars 1-0 to record their 4th win of the season. Samuel Kalu’s goal made the difference.

At the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna, the game between Kano Pillars and MFM Football Club of Lagos also produced drama produced in the final minutes of the game.

With just a minute to the end of the match, Umar Hassan scored arguably the most important goal of his career to give Kano Pillars a crucial win over MFM FC.

In Bauchi, Wikki Tourists and Sunshine Stars played a goalless draw while the encounter between Adamawa United and FC Ifeanyi Ubah ended 1-1.

On Monday, Heartland FC will host Lobi Stars at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri while Abia Warriors will seek to turn their season around when they take on Rangers in Okigwe.

NIGERIA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE.

Matchday 9 Results (Sunday)

Kwara United 3 Dakkada FC 0

Nasarawa United 2 Akwa United 1

Katsina United 1 Jigawa Golden Stars 0

Kano Pillars 1 MFM FC 0

Adamawa United 1 FC Ifeanyi Ubah 1

Wikki Tourists 0 Sunshine Stars 0

NPFL 21: Omoyele’s Brace Sinks Plateau United As Enyimba Consolidate Top Position

Enyimba's Tosin Omoyele scores opening goal in a 2-1 win over Plateau United on February 6, 2021.
Enyimba’s Tosin Omoyele scores the opening goal in a 2-1 win over Plateau United on February 6, 2021.

 

Enyimba Football Club of Aba have beaten Plateau United 2-1 to consolidate their status as leaders of the Nigeria Professional Football League.

The game between a current and former league champion, kicked off matchday 9 proceedings at the Enyimba International Stadium in Aba.

Plateau United manager, Abdul Maikaba tweaked his team a bit, giving a starting role to former Shooting Stars forward, Wasiu Jimoh and kept team captain, Amos Gyang on the bench.

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On the other hand, Enyimba’s manager, Fatai Osho gave Tosin Omoyele a starting role to display his quality against his former club and the striker repaid his coach for believing in him.

With two quick-fire goals, Omoyele damaged Plateau United.

Omoyele and Anayo Iwuala combined well in executing the attack of the People’s Elephant and it didn’t take long before Omoyele gave the home side the lead. Iwuala delivered a super corner kick, Omoyele timed his run perfectly to produce a beautiful header.

Three minutes later, Iwuala capitalised on a defensive error, fought to keep the ball while on the ground and managed to pass to Omoyele who released a ferocious shot to double Enyimba’s lead and secure his 4th goal of the season.

The People’s Elephant took the 2-0 lead into the break.

When second half commenced, the home team picked up where they stopped. They mounted pressure on the visitors looking for the third goal to seal the contest. Iwuala came so close to scoring in the 60th minute when captain, Austin Oladapo sent a pass to Sadiq Abubabar who located the hardworking Iwuala, he released a decent shot but his effort came off the base of the goal post.

In the 76th minute, substitute Moses Effiong pulled one back for Plateau United. Isah Ndala sent in a free kick into Enyimba’s danger area for the former Dakkada FC player to connect with a header.

The Peace Boys pushed harder to get the equaliser but Enyimba’s defence stood firm to defend the lead and sealed victory to consolidate their position on the league table with 21 points. The result also means Enyimba are yet to score a second half goal in the 8 matches this season.

Matchday 9 action will return tomorrow in the Nigeria Professional Football League.

Matchday 9 Fixtures (SUNDAY)

Rangers Int’l FC vs Warri Wolves

Dakkada FC vs Abia Warriors

Sunshine Stars vs Kwara United

Akwa United vs Katsina United

MFM vs Heartland

Jigawa Golden Stars vs Adamawa United

Lobi Stars vs Wikki Tourists

MONDAY

Rivers United vs Nasarawa United

FC Ifeanyi Ubah vs Kano Pillars

NPFL 21: Relief For Coach Boboye As Akwa United Beat Kano Pillars In Uyo

Akwa United Players celebrate during a league match.
Akwa United Players celebrate during a league match.

 

Akwa United have recorded their second win of the season with a 1-0 victory over Kano Pillars on matchday 7 of the Nigeria Professional Football League.

The Promise Keepers, struggling with a shaky start to the new season recording just one win, 2 losses and 3 draws in 6 matches. Considering, how they lost to Heartland on matchday 6 in Owerri, Coach Kennedy Boboye’s team needed to get back to winning ways through a difficult test against Kano Pillars.

Coach Boboye who couldn’t take charge of the team because of the ban he is serving 1 one-match ban for comments he made in Owerri, will give hugs to his players and technical crew for taking off some of the pressure.

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Akwa United approached the match with all seriousness and created chances from the start. In the opening minute, Morice Chukwu had decent attempt when his freekick narrowly missed the goal. Minutes later, it was Ubong Friday who volleyed from 20 yards after a flick by Saidu Salisu.

The Promise Keepers kept charging forward, but Kano Pillars defence won’t crack until the 30th minute when Etboy Akpan produced a supercross, Ndifreke Effiong followed it with a sweet header to give the home side the lead.

After conceding that goal, Kano Pillars came out of their shell, took control of the game but couldn’t find the back of the net. Akwa United took the lead into the break.

At the start of the second half, Sai Masu Gida got their first attempt at goal when Rabiu Ali curled an effort form 25 yards. That Pillars move triggered a response from the home side. Goalkeeper Idrissu produced a double save to stop Mfon Udoh’s effort from close range and the follow-up attempt by Saidu Salisu.

Pillars Coach, Lionel Soccia made a final push to get something out of the match by introducing Bright Silas, Ewenike Achibi and Usman Babalolo. The change in players almost paid off in the 75th minute when goalkeeper Adewale dropped Nyima Nwagua’s cross but Rabiu Ali’s connecting strike went wide.

In the closing minutes, Ndifreke Effiong had a chance to secure a brace but his bent freekick went over the bar but his goal in the first half was good enough to give the Promise Keepers their second win of the season and a second defeat for Kano Pillars.

There will be more action in the Nigeria Professional Football League on Sunday with Sunshine Stars hosting Rangers in Akure, Rivers United will hope to return to the top of the table, but they must beat Adamawa United in Port Harcourt.

Enyimba, looking for their fifth win of the season, will take on Katsina United in Aba, Dakkada will seek to get back to winning ways when they entertain Warri Wolves in Uyo while Abia Warriors will intensify their search for a first win this season when they take on Lobi Stars in Makurdi.