Nigerian clubs had an impressive showing this weekend in continental outings with Rivers United leading the pack after they shocked Champions League holders Wydad Casablanca.
The Port Harcourt-based side were 2-1 winners over the defending champions on Sunday.
Buoyed by a $40,000-a-man promise if they reach the group stage of Africa’s premier club competition, the Nigerian champions came from behind to grab the win, putting them in good stead for the return leg in the North African nation.
Bouly Sambou struck in the 32nd minute to give Wydad the lead. But Rivers United levelled the score line, just two minutes later via a Malachi Ohawume goal. Eight minutes into the second half, Paul Acquah scored to send the home fans into a frenzy. The second leg of the encounter takes place on Friday, October 14th, 2022.
In Abuja, Plateau United defeated Esperance of Tunisia 2-1 in a CAF Confederations Cup outing on Sunday.
Like Rivers United, the Peace Boys conceded first when Anice Badri found the back of the net. The Nigeria Professional Premier League (NPFL) runners-up, however, drew level in the 35th minute, eight minutes after going behind.
Following Ifeanyi Emmanuel’s goal, Mustapha scored another goal in the first half of stoppage time with his side holding on till the end of the game. The reverse feature is billed for October 14th, 2022.
Another Nigerian team, Kwara United, thrashed RS Berkane 3-1 in Africa’s second-tier club football competition at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos.
They went behind after eight minutes with international Djibril Ouattara giving the cup holders the advantage. While the match seemed to be heading in Berkane’s favour, three goals in the last twenty minutes earned Kwara United victory on Sunday.
Taefeek Ahmed brought his team to level terms in the 72nd minute before Wasiu Jimoh added another one seven minutes later.
With three minutes from time, Barnabas Daniel headed his side to a two goal cushion. Kwara United will now hope for a good outing when the second leg game takes place in Morocco (October 14th, 2022).
Nigerian clubs shone in continental football competitions last weekend with none of them losing their match.
In the CAF Champions League, Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions Rivers United defeated Liberian side Watanga FC 3-0 in the first leg of the qualifying game.
Two first-half goals from Kenechukwu Agu and Ebube Duru gave the Pride of Rivers a good start to the game. Paul Acquah later scored early in the second half at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt to wrap up the show.
The second leg of the encounter is billed for September 18 at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium in Monrovia.
In Lagos, Kwara United mauled AS Douanes 3-0 in the CAF Confederation Cup.
The Harmony Boys started off their campaign on a winning note thanks to a strike from Paul Samson and a brace from Wasiu Jimoh. The return fixture will take place on Sunday.
A day earlier, Plateau United were held to a 2-2 by Stade Mandji of Gabon in the CAF Champions League. Onyebuchi Ifeanyi and Mohammed Zulkifilu provided the goals for the Nigerians in Franceville, Gabon. The second leg of the fixture is billed for Sunday 18th September at Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
Another Nigerian team was in action on the same day in Rabat. Remo Stars drew 1-1 away to ASFAR in a CAF Confederation Cup tie at the Stade Prince Moulay Abdellah.
The Moroccans took the lead in the 27 minute but four minutes after the break, Adams Olamilekan headed levelled the scores for Remo Stars. His strike was historic as it was the first-ever goal scored by the team on the continent.
Daniel Ogunmodede’s men, who have gotten an away goal advantage, are expected to finish off the game in the reverse fixture on Sunday, September 18 in Ikenne.
Akila Jesse’s brace and Super Eagles invitee defender header were all Plateau United required to secure the maximum point with victory over neighbours Wikki Tourists at the new Zaria Road Stadium in Jos to keep pressure on Rivers United.
Wikki initially proved a hard nut to crack with an attacking exhibition that curtail Plateau adventures upfront causing a bit of uneasiness in the Plateau defence.
In spite of Wikki’s resistance, a defensive blunder committed in the box following Haggai Katoh’s cross saw Akila Jesse chasing a free ball and eventually latched on it to slot in Plateau’s first goal in the 14th minute.
Wikki succeeded in cancelling Plateau’s lead three minutes from resumption as Ridwan Adeshina capitalised on Ikefe’s faulty defensive blunder to send a long shot from 40 yards that left Akande Abiodun stranded for the equaliser.
Spontaneously, Plateau responded to restore the lead through Buhari Ibrahim who came from the defence to nod into the net for the Highlanders’ second goal of the day.
With desperation to increase the tally, Jesse Akila got his brace in a similar fashion from another defensive blunder from Wikki’s defence to score the third goal for the hosts in the 66th minute.
With the victory, Plateau still trail Rivers with four points on the log after 28 games.
2017 Nigeria Professional Football League champions, Plateau United have beaten Nasarawa United 1-0 at the New Jos Stadium on matchday 7.
The win takes Plateau United to fifth on the log with 11 points and ends the unbeaten run of the Solid Miners who were unbeaten in six matches, winning 4 and recording 2 draws.
The northern derby was expected to produce some sparks and it did. Twelve minutes into the match, Abba Umar had a chance to give the hosts the lead but was stopped by his namesake, goalkeeper Danlami Umar.
Plateau United captain, Amos Gyang led by example with his dazzling runs and it paid off in the 36th minute when he sent in a delightful cross that located Mohammed Zulkifilu who scored with a fine header to ensure Coach Abdul Maikaba’s team takes the lead into the break.
That was Zulkifilu’s second goal of the season.
When play resumed, the coaches re-strategised with coach Bala Nikyu taking off Victor Okoro and introducing Ikenna Ofor while coach Maikaba introduced Sunday Anthony for Uche Onwuasoanya.
Nasarawa United striker, Chinedu Ohanachom who scored the matchday 6 winner in Ozoro tried to disturb the defence of Plateau United defence but the duo of Andrew Ikefe and Ibrahim Buhari were unshakened.
Isah Ndala was a rock in midfield for Plateau United and came so close to scoring a spectacular goal in the 60th minute when his audacious strike rattled the crossbar of the visitors. The replay showed goalkeeper Danlami Umar had his fingers on the ball before it struck the woodwork.
In a bid to keep the unbeaten run going, coach Bala Nikyu brought in Adamu Hassan for Aliyu Abdullahi while Bashir Umar replaced Haggai Katoh. Despite the changes, it was the Peace Boys who got so close to double their lead when Moses Effiong’s effort struck the woodwork again n the 78th minute.
Plateau United held on their lead till the end of the game to secure their third win of the season and a huge leap into the top five.
Despite the loss, Nasarawa United still tops the league table and will only drop if Rivers United beats Adamawa United on Sunday in Port Harcourt.
The northern derby between Katsina United and Plateau United in the Nigeria Professional Football League has finished goalless.
The matchday six fixture, played at the Muhammed Dikko Stadium in Katsina on Saturday had both sides creating chances but couldn’t convert to goals.
The home side, Katsina United, were hoping to return to winning ways after their 1-0 loss to Nasarawa United in Lafia on matchday 5 but didn’t do enough to get maximum points from the former league champions.
In the opening minutes of the match, Rasheed Ahmed had a chance to score for the hosts but fired wide. Moments later, the visitors had a goal attempt when Mohammed Zukifilu fired from way out but was stopped by goalkeeper Yusuf Mohammed.
Coach Abdul Maikaba’s team had another opportunity in the 37th minute when Isah Ndala shot from a distance, again, goalkeeper Mohammed produced a fine save to keep Katsina United in the game.
The game stayed goalless at half-time and when play resumed, both sides approached the game with caution and created less chances to produce a win.
The result means Katsina United is winless in three games now, recording just two wins in six matches.
On matchday five, Plateau United beat Adamawa United 3-0 and will take the precious point from Katsina back to Jos to prepare for their next match against the impressive Nasarawa United.
Matchday six action in the Nigeria Professional Football League will resume on Sunday with some fixtures that include Rangers taking on Lobi Stars in Enugu, Warri Wolves will host Nasarawa United, Heartland FC will play Akwa United in Owerri while Abia Warriors will lock horns with MFM Football Club of Lagos at the Okigwe Township Stadium.
In another big fixture, Rivers United continued their push for the NPFL title with a crucial 2-1 win over Kano Pillars in Port Hartcourt.
Konan N’gouan opened the scoring for the Pride of Rivers in the 20th minute when he converted from the penalty spot before Emotan Cletus sealed victory for coach Stanley Eguma’s team with an 87th-minute goal. The charismatic Rabiu Ali scored a consolatory sweet goal for Pillars when he converted a brilliant free-kick with practically the last kick of the game.
In Lafia, Enyimba’s unbeaten run in four games came to a shocking end as they lost 2-0 to relegation-threatened Nasarawa United. The home team took the lead when Chinedu Ohanachom showed some exceptional skill to score from close range after Haggai Katoh’s low effort hit the bar. Hagai Katoh completed a brilliant performance by scoring the second goal of the match in the 89th minute.
In Uyo, Akwa United missed the chance to close the gap on third-placed Lobi Stars, as they left it late to record 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened Warri Wolves. Jumbo Wisdom opening the scoring for the Warri based team in the 70th minute from the penalty spot while Ndifreke Effiong responded to avoid a major embarrassment for the Promise Keepers at home.
Katsina United has moved into the top ten of the league after edging Abia Warriors. An early goal from Joseph Atule in the fifth minute secured the three points for the hosts in a match that witnessed the return of fans to the Mohamed Dikko stadium.
Jigawa Golden Stars continued their quest to maintain league status as they came from behind to beat Wikki Tourists 2-1 and Promise Damala gave Wikki Tourists the lead in the second minute but Ibrahim Saleh equalized for Jigawa just after the break. Abdulahi Lala completed the come-back for Jigawa, a team that is pushing hard to avoid relegation.
MFM fc and Heartland shared the spoils at the Agege Stadium in Lagos as Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu returned to the ground where he established his reputation as a football coach.
Plateau United, Rivers United and newly promoted Dakkada FC have recorded vital away victories in Matchday 5 of the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League.
Still relishing in their first league win, after beating Ifeanyi Ubah FC 1-0 on matchday 4 in Uyo, Dakkada FC travelled to Enugu to create a major upset.
Rangers have been struggling this season. With just one win (1-0 over Sunshine Stars on matchday one) from four matches and occupying an embarrassing position on the league table, the Flying Antelopes had nothing but victory on their minds when they filed out to take on Dakkada FC in Enugu.
When the action began, the troubles of Rangers was exposed to the people of Enugu. Eighteen minutes into the match, Femi Ajayi opened the scoring for the visitors. No one saw it coming but there was more come.
Just before the break, Isaac George doubled the lead for the visitors and the problems of Rangers and their fans at the stadium. The 2015/2016 league champions couldn’t do much to change the outcome of the match. It ended Rangers 0 Dakkada FC 2. Shocking!
League leaders, Plateau United continued their fine form to the season with a 1-3 victory over Delta Force in Asaba.
As early as six minutes into the match, Coach Abdul Maikaba’s team were already creating chances. Ibrahim Mustapha missed a clear chance to put the team ahead. He had just the goalkeeper to beat but couldn’t take the chance.
In the 36th minute, Plateau United paid for the missed chances when Delta Force was awarded a penalty. Kazie Eyinnaya stepped up to the spot and scored to give the home team the lead. That was the wake-up call for Plateau United and moments later, they levelled up after Uche Onwuasoanya benefited from a goalkeeping error.
In the second half, Plateau United turned up the heat. Michael Ibeh’s goal in the 72nd minute gave them the lead while Ibrahim Mustapha’s goal in extra time sealed the victory for the visitors at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.
The victory ensured Plateau United maintained their position at the top of the league table and still unbeaten. Their next match is against struggling Kano Pillars at the New Jos Stadium in Jos.
Rivers United added to the woes of Delta State teams with a 0-1 victory over Warri Wolves at the Warri Stadium. Coming from a decent performance against MFM FC in Lagos, where they shared points in 1-1 draw, they failed to replicate same against a determined Rivers United team.
37 minutes into the match, Cletus Emotan sent in a cross from a free-kick and it found the head of an unmarked Stephen Gopey to give the Port Harcourt based team the lead. Warri Wolves pushed and fought to draw level but it didn’t happen for them. Rivers United will take maximum points back home and hope to consolidate in their next match against Abia Warriors.
Matchday five also ended well for Katsina United as they beat Sunshine Stars 2-0. The Changi Boys left it late till the 80th minute for Tasiu Lawal to score the opener. At the dying minutes of regulation time, Gambo Muhammad scored his first goal for the club to seal the victory for the home team.
Enyimba Football Club of Aba also returned to winning ways. Coming from a difficult defeat to Sunshine Stars on Matchday 4 in Akure, the People’s Elephant needed to win when they took on Adamawa United. They got the victory.
The victory was sealed in the first half. A brace from Victor Mbaoma in the 20th and 26th minutes of the match made the difference and were good enough to shoot Enyimba to third on the league table with 10 points.
The other teams from the east also recorded victories, except FC Ifeanyi Ubah that played a goalless draw with Lobi Stars in Nnewi. Abia Warriors defeated MFM FC of Lagos 1-0. Assisted by Zinte Udeh, Oghenetega Ebetomane scored from close range to seal the victory for the home team.
Finally, Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu can breathe as Heartland recorded their first win of the season after beating Jigawa Golden Stars 1-0. Thanks to Ugochukwu Leonard whose goal made the difference. The Naze Millionaires now have 2 loses, 2 draws and 1 win from five matches. Up next for them is Wikki Tourists at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe.
The struggles of Kano Pillars continued with a 0-0 result with Wikki Tourists. The former league champions are yet to record a win this season and have recorded just two points from four matches.
Another struggling team is Akwa United. The Promise Keepers have recorded 4 draws and a loss from five matches. 3 of those draws have been at home. They have achieved just 2 points from a possible nine. Today, in Uyo, they played 1-1 with Nasarawa United. Ndifreke Effiong gave Coach John Obuh’s team the lead from the spot but they lost it when Godfrey West scored for the visitors.
The Nigeria Professional Football League has been criticized for a poor record of away victories but there’s been an improvement this season. With just five matchdays concluded, eight away victories have been recorded and that’s a clear message to followers of the league to brace up for a highly competitive season.
Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries (MFM) Football Club of Lagos and Plateau United produced the major talking points of the opening day of the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season.
The team, formerly managed by Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu, travelled to Okigwe to deliver a strong message of intent on their aspiration this season as they stunned Heartland FC 0-1 to record the first away victory of the season.
On August 5, 2019, Coach Ilechukwu was officially unveiled as the new coach of Heartland FC after spending 13 progressive years at MFM FC. It was arguably the pragmatic coach who stabilised the team when they gained promotion to the NPFL in 2016 and when some of the boys he tutored visited Okigwe, they showed him some of the skills he taught them.
It was actually Clement Ogwu, a player signed by coach Ilechukwu last season from an unknown Glorious Day Academy that headed home the game’s only goal in the 39th minute from a corner kick by right back Adeyinka Najeem.
After the match, MFM FC head coach, Tony Bolus was full of praise for his team. “I need to appreciate the boys for their effort today, for keeping and playing to instructions. They maintained the tempo of the game from the beginning until the end.”
If Ogwu had scored that goal last season, Ilechukwu, also referred to as the “Working One” would have given the fans his trademark energetic celebration, lifting his hands to the heavens and punching the ground. But there was nothing to celebrate on matchday one with his new team and he will be hoping for a turnaround on matchday 2 when the Naze Millionaires go against Rivers United at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt.
At the New Jos Stadium, Plateau United cruised to a comfortable 3-1 victory over Lobi Stars to put behind the disappointment of last season’s opening day clash with Ifeanyi Ubah.
The stadium had a fairly good number of spectators which include a former governor, Jonah Jang cheering the team all the way. Nerot Silas didn’t take long to reward the fans loyalty as he scored the opener in the 12th minute. In the 27th minute, an own-goal by Solomon Kwambe doubled the lead for the hosts.
But Lobi Stars will not go down without a fight. They kept pushing and in the 32nd minute, they were awarded a penalty. Sikiru Alimi stepped up to it and converted to keep hopes alive. But the hopes were dashed when winger, Amo Gyang Danladi finished a fine move to seal victory and also shoot the 2017 league champions to the top of the league table after matchday one.
After the match, Coach Abdul Maikaba said the victory is a good relief from what happened on the opening day of last season.
“Last season, we struggled and it started with the first match with Ifeanyi Ubah FC. We drew here and it caused a lot of confusion and put a lot of pressure on the team. Before we recovered in an abridged league, it became so difficult. We escaped relegation by a whisker and so, this time around, starting with another home game, we had to start well. We told the boys not to repeat last season’s error and to get a win that will put us on top of the league table,” a happy Maikaba said.
In Kano, former league champions Kano Pillars felt the absence of their home fans as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Rivers United at the Sani Abacha Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors because of a ban placed on Pillars due to unacceptable fans behaviour during the Super Six tournament in Lagos last season.
In Gombe, Wikki Tourists of Bauchi were the only team that produced a comeback victory on matchday one. They defeated newly promoted Jigawa Golden Stars 2-1 at their adopted home ground.
15 minutes into the match, Lala Abdullahi gave Jigawa a shock lead at the Pantami Stadium but two second-half goals from Saidu Abubakar and captain Mohammed Idris Guda gave coach Ibrahim Garba’s team the maximum points.
At the Umuahia Township Stadium, Abia Warriors also got off to a winning start with a 2-0 victory over Katsina United. Former Heartland FC player, Jimoh Oni’s brace did all the magic.
Oni’s first goal came as early the 8th minute, when he drilled a free-kick from 20 yards beyond Mustapha Aliko and followed up two minutes into the second half with another goal assisted by Phillip Auta.
Emmanuel Deutsche’s team will hope to sustain the momentum when they clash with Akwa United on matchday 2 of the league at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.
In Nnewi, FC Ifeanyiubah edged newly promoted Adamawa United 1-0 courtesy of a superb strike by Samuel Kalu minutes to the end of the first half. It would have been more for the Anambra Warriors but Striker Chibuike Ezeh failed to convert a second-half penalty which could have widened the scoreline for the Anambra Warriors.
Matchday one also witnessed a double-header clash between Delta and Akwa-Ibom states. Delta Force hosted NPFL debutants, formerly Akwa Starlets, now Dakkada FC in Asaba while Warri Wolves hosted Akwa United at the Warri Township Stadium.
In both games, the teams shared the spoils.
In Warri, Samuel Amadi scored the fastest goal of the new season when his strike gave Wolves the lead with just two minutes into the match. Captain of the Promise Keepers, Mfon Udoh continued from where he left off last season to restore parity for John Obuh’s team.
At the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Isaac George scored in the 50th minute to give Dakkada FC the lead but the experienced Bala Yahuza rescued a point for the home side.
Enyimba vs Nasarawa United and Rangers vs Sunshine Stars were rescheduled due to Enyimba and Rangers’ CAF Confederation Cup engagements on Sunday.
2019/2020 NPFL Matchday 1 Results
Heartland 0-1 MFM FC Plateau United 3-1 Lobi Stars Kano Pillars 0-0 River United Wikki Tourists 2-1 Jigawa Golden Stars Abia Warriors 2-0 Katsina United FC Ifeanyiubah 1-0 Adamawa United Warri Wolves 1-1 Akwa United Delta Force 1-1 Akwa Starlets
Plateau United coach, Kennedy Boboye, has played down talk of a meltdown within the camp of the league leaders.
The coach has stunned many in the Nigerian Premier League this season, taking the Jos-based club side to within striking distance of a first-ever league success.
The league leaders saw there five points lead at the top cut to two following a 3-1 defeat to El-Kanemi Warriors in a match day 27 fixture but he says the team will pick up from the defeat and focus on other key games ahead.
Plateau United have amassed 48 points from 27 matches this season.
Plateau United have extended their lead at the top of the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) table with their 5-1 home win over Gombe United.
Plateau, who are on 45 points, are now five points clear ahead of second-placed MFM FC of Lagos.
At the Agege Stadium, Stephen Odey returned to MFM’s starting 11 as they edged struggling Shooting Stars of Ibadan 1-0.
In Port Harcourt, Rivers United beat FC Ifeanyi Ubah 2-1, while Enugu Rangers halted their three-game winless run with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Akwa United at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu State.
Elsewhere, ABS of Ilorin beat Lobi Stars 1-0, Wikki Tourists defeated Niger Tornadoes 3-1, Katsina United thrashed El-Kanemi Warriors 3-0 and Remo Stars beat Nasarawa United 1-0.