NPFL Play-offs Round 3 review
After the second match day, there wasn’t much to separate the first five teams. With two defeats, FC Ifeanyi Ubah have all but dropped out of the race for the title which meant we were now down to the Super Five.
The first scheduled encounter on match day three was the game between Kano Pillars and FC Ifeanyi Ubah. It was a tight match with several yellow cards shown in the first half. With this many fouls, there was a lot of stoppage time and in the fifth minute of time added on the Pillars took the lead. The referee awarded them a penalty which Rabiu Ali, one of their top scorers this season, comfortably converted into a goal.
Teams continued to battle after the restart, but it was the Kano Pillars who scored again in the 63rd minute through David Ebuka. Two goals down, FC Ifeanyi Ubah brought on Matthew Emmanuel from the bench in the 58th minute. Seven minutes later Emmanuel pulled a goal back for his team. However, the Pillars held on for their second win of the play-offs and stay unbeaten.
Football fans from Lagos witnessed a great second match of day, an encounter between Lobi Stars and Enyimba. After a quiet start to the game it was Enyimba who scored two quick goals to open the scoring. Abdulrahman Bashir scored the first goal in the 39th minute with Stanley Dimgba adding another one 60 seconds later.
Before the team went for a break, Samuel Mathias scored for the Lobi Stars to give them hope going into the second half. Following a couple of substitutions at the start of the second period, Dimgba scored again in the 66th minute to get his second of the game and confirm the win for Enyimba.
In the last match of the day, football fans saw a total of six goals scored. Akwa United and Enugu Rangers locked horns and it didn’t look like a high-scoring game after a goalless first half. But the dam opened after Akwa United was awarded a penalty kick just a minute into the second half. Cyril Olisemah stepped up to the spot and put the ball in the net for the lead.
Sixty minutes in things got interesting. The Rangers went down to ten men after Oladuntoye got a second yellow and a red card. Three minutes later though, a man down, Enugu Rangers levelled the score through Chiamaka Madu.
Inspired, the Rangers pushedforward, and Michael Uchebo scored two quick goals, in the 68th and in the 70th minute, to give the Rangers the lead. At that point the score was 1:3. But it wasn’t over yet. Denis Nya stepped up and pulled a goal back in the 87th minute before equalizing in the 4th minute of stoppage time. That goal could prove to put a dent in both teams charge for the title.
After three games, Kano Pillars are on top with seven points with Enyimba behind them on six points. Following are Akwa United with five points, Enugu Rangers on four and Lobi Stars on three points. All but FC Ifeanyi Ubah still have a chance to win the title. The next round of games is scheduled for Monday, June 10th, again at the Agege Stadium in Lagos.
Check out betting odds for the last two rounds of the play-offs on 1XBet.