NPFL: Ikorodu United Coach Praises Players For Victory Over Heartland

Ikorodu United-Heartland-NPFLCoach of Ikorodu United, Sam Okpodu, has described his team’s 3-1 victory over Heartland FC in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) as a reward for the hard work of his players.

Ikorodu United sits at the bottom of the league table and winless in their previous 11 games before the match against Heartland but bounced back from a goal down to stun their opponents from Owerri at the Agege Stadium in a Match Day 14 clash of the NPFL.

Okpodu believes it is a good motivation for the team: “These boys can play when the conditions are right and I am delighted that they rose to the occasion today.

“These boys will take the league by storm (and) all we need is to get our confidence right and people will see what we can do.

“The fans were just fantastic and we appreciate the support given to us today,” he added.

The Lagos based team were pegged back by the Naze Millionaires for most part of the first half.

Heartland’s possession was useful in the 10th minute when Anthony Oussou scored through a header after a flowing move.

The Ikorodu boys were struggling to stop the flowing play of the visitors.

What would have been Heartland’s second goal was wasted by Bright Ejike, whose header went over the bar.

An indication of what was to come came with five minutes to go in the first half when Moses Ebiye flashed a shot from outside the box with Heartland goalkeeper, Philip Acho struggling to save.

The game sparked into life in added time of the first half when Ikorodu United striker, Merenini Junior’s goal ensured that both side went into the break tied at 1-1.

A more confident Ikorodu United team made sure that Heartland’s attack on their goal was reduced to long range efforts as Ebiye put the home team ahead against the run of play in the 66th minute.

Any hope of a fightback by the Naze Millionaires ended when Zoumana Doumbia received a red card for his foul on Ebiye in the box while Ojukwu Ifegwu stepped up to score with seven minutes to the end of the game.

Ikorodu United has gathered just nine points from 14 games and up next for them in the league is an away game against Kano Pillars.

Teams React To NPFL Matchday Nine Results

NPFL - Heartland FC - Giwa FC - Rivers United - Ikorodu UnitedRivers United coach, Stanley Eguma, is relieved with his side’s 3-2 victory against Ikorodu United at the Onikan Stadium in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria.

Coach Eguma who was recently handed a three-match ultimatum said that he hopes the team would consolidate on the away victory.

Reacting to his team’s performance in the Day-9 fixture of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), the technical adviser of Ikorodu United, Sam Okpodu, admitted that the team was struggling.

According to Okpodu, the players are still learning how to handle top flight football.

Elsewhere, Giwa FC head coach said that his team must learn how to pick away points if they must fight for continental tickets this season.

The Jos based team suffered their third defeat in eight games following a 2-0 loss to Heartland FC in Owerri.

Heartland assistant coach, Mangut Mabwas, commended his side for handling the pressure to ensure his side recorded their third win of the season.

NPFL: Rangers Extend Lead, Ikorodu United’s Struggle Continues

NPFLMatchday 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.