NPFL Playoffs Match day 2 review
The Super Six from the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) were at it again on Thursday evening and Friday morning, playing the second of five total playoff matches.
After being held by the Kano Pillars in the opening game, Akwa United went up against FC Ifeanyi Ubah to try and get the first win in. Bad news for them came after some 30 minutes of play. Emmanuel Ugwuka scored the opener for the Anambra Warriors in the 33rd minute with a nice effort. This was the only goal in the first half.
Three minutes into the second half of the game the Promise Keepers got their first break. Godspower Igudia took a crack at goal but the keeper parried his strike onto the foot of Cyril Olisemah who put the ball safely in the net. Nine minutes later, United was awarded a penalty kick after a handball by Charles Okafor in the sixteen-yardbox.
Olisemah took the responsibility and Akwa United were 2:1 up on the 60-minute mark. Having turned the score around, they held onto the ball until the final whistle for an important win.
Enugu Rangers lost the first match of the play-offs and needed a win against favourited Lobi Stars. And they were up and running in the 13th minute after a solid strike from Godwin Aguda. The opening goal gave them confidence to keep on attacking and get a second goal in the 28th minute. This time it was Chiamaka Madu who put the ball past the Stars goalkeeper Egbo. The Flying Antelopes went into the break with a two-goal advantage.
Everyone expected Lobi Stars to fight back in the second half and so they did. A third of the way through the second half, Alimi Sikiru scored a goal to make the encounter interesting until the end. However, the Enugu Rangers held onto their lead to win 2:1 and get the first win on the post-season.
The third game of Round 2, between Kano Pillars and Enyimba, was moved to Friday 10 am. The players were finding it hard to find their stride in the first half because of the early kick-off to finish it without any goals scored.
All the excitement was saved for the second half. Enyimba managed to earn a penalty kick in the 60th minute of the game but they missed it. This woke up the Kano Pillars players who scored two goals, three minutes apart, to secure their first win of the play-offs. Adamu Hassan scored first in the 77th minute before Nwangwa Nyima doubled the lead in the 80th minute for the final score of 2:0 to the Kano Pillars.
As things stand, Kano Pillars and Akwa United are on top with four points with three teams behind them on three points and FC Ifeanyi Ubah with no points so far.
The next round is scheduled for Saturday, June 8th at the Agege Stadium in Lagos.
Check out the odds for the upcoming NPFL playoff games at Nairabet.