NPFL Playoffs Round 1 review
After a season of 22 match days, the top six teams in Nigerian football (Super Six), have started the NPFL Playoffs. The opening match was played on Tuesday, June 4th between Enyimba and Enugu Rangers. The other two matches were Akwa United vs Kano Pillars and Lobi Stars vs FC Ifeanyi Ubah.
Enyimba met the Enugu Rangers at the Agege Stadium in Lagos. And they were a much better team in the first half. They almost went a goal up before the break but instead hit the woodwork. The first half ended goalless.
Early in the second half the home team finally scored a goal. After overcoming a defender, Joseph Osadiye struck the ball into the net. This would later prove to be the game winner. The official visitors in this game were disappointed not to have provided more of a resistance against the confident Enyimba.
The second match-up was the Kano Pillars against the Group B winners Akwa United at the same ground in Lagos. All the goal action happened in the first half before both teams sorted out their defence for the second part of the match.
The Pillars were off to a great start with David Ebuka netting a goal in the 2nd minute of the game. Akwa United responded with a few chances of their own before getting the equalizer on the 30-minute mark through Effong Ndifreke.
Three minutes later though, Kano Pillars were back on top after a goal from Nwangwa Nyima, who found the net with an inspired finish. But the action didn’t stop there. Almost immediately, United restored parity through a goal from Godspower Aniefiok.
The second half saw a few changes from both sides and red card for Nweke in the 90th minute making him unavailable to the Pillars for the next round. The match finished an exciting 2:2 draw.
In the last match of this opening round of the NPFL Playoffs, Lobi Stars took on the FC Ifeanyi Ubah team, again at the same ground in Lagos. The winners of last years championship went flying out of the gates with a goal in the second minute of the game. After some bad luck in the 16-yard box, the ball came to Samad Kadiri who had no problem slotting the ball home. However, before the halftime ended, Ebetomame Tega levelled the score with a goal in the 40th minute.
The second half was all Lobi Stars as they secured a win with two quick goals in succession in the 60th and 63rd minute. Kadiri got his second goal of the evening before Alimi Sikiru scored his first and third for his team. Lobi Stars win the game 3:1 and are currently top of the Playoff group with a better goal difference, in front of Enyimba in second.
The next round is scheduled for Thursday, June 6th with the following matches:
- Akwa United vs FC Ifeanyi Ubah @ 3* pm
- Enugu Rangers vs Lobi Stars @ 5* pm
- Kano Pillars vs Enyimba @ 7* pm
Check out the latest betting odds on the NPFL playoffs at Betway Nigeria.