NPFL matchday 22: Enyimba, MFM, Gombe Utd win
On Sunday, the Nigeria Professional Football League, (NPFL) kicked off its 22nd matchday with five games in various cities.
During the various encounters, five home victories, 2 draws, and a total of sixteen goals have been recorded.
Enyimba’s seven-year Oriental dominance at the Aba Stadium was extended with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Rangers, led by former Super Eagles winger, Finidi George.
Rangers took the lead in the 15th minute when Chidibere Okorie sent the ball forward for Ossy Martins, who outpaced Adeleke and slotted it past goalkeeper Sabirou Bassa-Djeri.
Victor Mbaoma latched a shot towards Seidu Mutawakilu in the 32nd minute for the hosts, who appeared settled in front of their fans in Aba.
Because it was a derby, both teams proceeded with caution as the hunt for a winner shifted to the second half.
Rangers were dealt a blow when Captain Tope Olusesi had to be substituted due to an injury sustained in the first half, and he was replaced by Doyeni Olawale.
In search of a winner, Finidi substituted Samuel Kalu and Cyril Olisema for Adeleke Adekunle and Ekene Awazie in the 60th minute.
Mbaoma headed substitute Cyril’s cross home to thrill the fans as he recorded his eighth goal of the season, giving the People’s Elephant an answer to their search for a winner.
Enyimba’s win kept them in seventh place, 32 points behind Sunshine Stars.
Meanwhile, it was Rangers’ second consecutive road defeat, but they maintain third place with 37 points, fearful of losing the spot after Remo’s game.
In other news, the Olukoya Boys defeated Uyo-based Dakkada 2-0 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
MFM needed points and Badejo Oluwaseun and Oladayo Alabi scored in the 42nd and 66th minutes, respectively. With the win, they moved up to 18th place with 23 points, while Dakkada remained 16th with 24 points.
Sunshine Stars held on to beat Abia Warriors one-nil at the Dipo Dina Stadium in Ijebu Ode to maintain their dominant home record.
After Ikenna Cooper was brought down in the 21st minute, Ejike Uzoechi scored from the penalty spot for the Akure Gunners.
Sunshine Stars, who had been enjoying a dream evening thanks to Mustapha’s clinical saves from the first to the second half, were reduced to ten men after Chinedu Ozor was booked for a second yellow card.
In the 77th minute, the player committed a professional foul by purposefully stopping Abia Warriors’ counter-attack with his hands.
Sunshine remained in sixth place with 32 points, thanks to Cameroonian coach Emmanuel Deutsch’s first victory. Abia Warriors, on the other hand, fell to 15th place with 25 points.
Kabiri Dogo’s team was defeated by Niger Tornadoes in the final minutes of the game in Kaduna. Tornadoes could have scored within the first 10 minutes, but Wikki goalkeeper Galadima saved Alebiosu’s penalty well.
Wakili Abubakar’s 87th-minute goal helped Bala’s team climb back to 14th place with 26 points.
The only draws were between Kwara United and Plateau United, with one goal each, and a scoreless draw between Baba Ganaru and his former side at Makurdi.
Lobi Stars lost a point to a shaky Kano Pillars, putting their escape from relegation in jeopardy. The Benue-based team is still in 17th place with 23 points, while Kano Pillars have moved up to 13th place with 26 points.
In Uyo, Akwa United defeated Shooting Stars 2-1 at home thanks to two goals from Babatunde Martins in the 15th and 69th minutes. The Ibadan-based boys’ losing streak continued today, as Chidera Ezeh scored in the 81st minute to put one past Kennedy Boboye’s boys at the Nest of Champions stadium.
Gombe United defeated Nasarawa United 3-1 at home to move into 9th place in the league, one spot behind the top ten.
Tomorrow’s NPFL matchday 22 kicks off with Katsina United hosting top seed Rivers United, while Remo Stars travel to Owerri to face Heartland.
Enyimba FC 2-1 Rangers Int’l
Sunshine Stars 1-0 Abia Warriors
MFM FC 2-0 Dakkada FC
Lobi Stars 0-0 Kano Pillars
Niger Tornadoes 1-0 Wikki Tourists
Akwa Utd 2-1 Shooting stars
Gombe Utd 3-1 Nasarawa Utd
Kwara Utd 1-1 Plateau Utd
Heartland vs Remo Stars
Katsina Utd vs Rivers Utd