Enyimba win the play-offs and the 2018/19 NPFL title

Enyimba midfielder Reuben Bala in action

Enyimba win the play-offs and the 2018/19 NPFL title

Four rounds into the playoffs Enyimba were top of the group with Kano Pillars just a point behind. All three teams at the top of the play-off group had a chance to win the title.

In the first match, Enugu Rangers and FC Ifeanyi Ubah faced off in a game which had no impact on the title battle. The Rangers scored two goals in the first half to control the game. Seven minutes into the game, Chiamaka Madu put the ball in the net for the lead. Minutes before the break, Jimoh Gbadamosi scored an own goal to give Rangers a 2:0 lead at halftime.

Five minutes after the restart, Christian Madu got himself on the score sheet to make the score 3:0. Not a full minute later, FC Ifeanyi Ubah pulled a goal back through Eze Chibuike. The same player got himself another goal only four minutes after that. This made the game suddenly interesting.

However, the referee awarded Enugu Rangers a penalty which Godwin Aguda successfully converted for a final score of 4:2 and a win. FC Ifeanyi Ubah finish the play-off run without a win while the Enugu Rangers finish third and will take part in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Confederations Cup next year.

Akwa United looked for a miracle in Lagos against Enyimba who were still favourites to win the title at the start of the game. The first goal came in the 43rd minute of the match courtesy of Reuben Bala of Enyimba. This was also the only goal of the half.

Enyimba midfielder Reuben Bala in action

Enyimba midfielder Reuben Bala in action – Facebook NPFL

Sixty minutes gone, Enyimba doubled their lead through Stanley Dimgba. It was then clear that Akwa United won’t be able to offer any resistance even though the coach made three substitutions to try and turn the game around. Still, they couldn’t stop Abdulrahman Bashir to score the third and final goal a minute before the final whistle.

This more than comfortable win meant that Enyimba were 2018/19 winners of the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL). And they do so deservingly after four wins and a single loss which gave them 12 points and the Championship. This is their record eight NPFL title.

In the last game of the round, which also turned out to be inconsequential, Lobi Stars met with the Kano Pillars. A single goal decided the game and it was a penalty given in the 72nd minute od the game. Ifeanyi Nweke was the player who converted it into a winning goal. Even though the Kano Pillars finished the play-offs unbeaten, the two draws cost them greatly.

Both Enyimba and Kano Pillars will represent Nigeria in the CAF Champions League next season.

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