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.

Governor Emmanuel Praises Akwa United’s Victory

Governor Emmanuel Praises Akwa United’s VictoryAkwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has commended the players and technical crew of Akwa United for their victory in the just concluded Federation Cup competition.

Governor Emmanuel lauded the champions for writing Akwa Ibom State’s name in gold, after winning their first Federation Cup in the 70 years of the competition.

The Governor, who received the team on their return from Lagos where they won the trophy, described the victory as a testimony to the philosophy which seeks to promote unity and greatness among Akwa Ibom people.

The Captain of the team, Otobong Akpan, attributed their success to the motivation from fans and Governor Emmanuel.

Akwa United had lifted their first ever trophy in Nigeria’s oldest club competition at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos on Sunday.

Zachary Baraje’s men put up a fine display to beat Lobi Stars of Makurdi for their first Federation Cup title in Nigeria’s commercial city.

Akwa United Defeat Nasarawa United 2-0

akwa unitedAkwa United Coach, Zachary Baraje, has expressed his team’s hope of escaping relegation and winning the Federation Cup for the first time in their history this season.

Baraje’s team stopped high-flying Nasarawa United on Friday night in a Nigeria League week 31 game, to boost his team’s survival hopes.

Aniekpeno Udoh put the home team ahead after 36 minutes off a well-taken corner from the left.

It was his seventh league goal of the season.

Adio Yusuf then rifled home an unstoppable free kick from distance in the 71st minute to make the game safe for Akwa United.

Akwa United are now 14th on the table with 37 points from 31 matches and they will battle Lobi Stars in the 2015 Federation Cup final.