NPFL review: re-scheduled matches from earlier rounds
During this past week, clubs from the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) played some outstanding matches from earlier rounds.
Lobi stars welcomed Rivers United in a match left from matchday eight. The visitors played aggressive defence in the first half trying to prevent defending champions from scoring. They received four yellow cards in the first half, in just over 30 minutes of play. But, just before the break, the hosts took the lead through Alimi Sikiru.
Before Rivers could recover from a late first-half goal, Lobi Stars pounced again to double their lead. Michael Stephens got the second goal in the 55th minute. To their credit, visitors tried to get back in the game and pulled a goal back in the 75th minute through Emotan Cletus.
The home side held on to win the game and move up to third in the table with four games behind the first two, MFM and Enyimba. Rivers United drop to sixth place in the standings.
Katsina United were unlucky not to win against MFM at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium on Wednesday. The referee awarded them a penalty in the 17th minute but Destiny Ashadi failed to convert it. The punishment came a minute before the first half ended. A strike from Chijioke Akuneto gave the visitors an advantage going into the break.
Hosts played better in the second half and equalized in the 70th minute courtesy of Martins Usule. The game ended in a 1:1 draw. This was the first draw this year for MFM but enough to make their lead at the top of Group A six points. Katsina United went up a place into fourth in the table.
On Thursday, Enugu Rangers played hosts to Sunshine Stars at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium. One goal was enough to settle the match in favour of the hosts. And it was an own goal by Gabriel Olalekan which settled it.
With this win, the Rangers move to seventh in the table, level on points with Wikki Tourists and Kwara behind them. However, they have five games in hand over Rivers United, a point above them in sixth place. Sunshine stars drop to fifth place.
Abia Warriors travelled to Damaturu to take on the Yobe Desert Stars. Without a win in four matches, the visitors hoped to snap that streak in this match. And they opened the scoring in the 36th minute. Samson Bossa Obi’s goal made the score 0:1 at halftime.
The home side equalized in the 58th minute through a penalty scored by Philip Auta. Only three minutes later they were unlucky when Daniel Uduak put the ball in his own net. A goal by Obi Samson in the 75th minute sealed the win for the visitors.
Abia Warriors are now up to sixth in Group B while Yobe Stars stay rooted to the bottom of the table.
Kada City hosted Kano Pillars at the Town Stadium in Kaduna. With an away win, the Pillars would move ahead of the hosts in the standings. They took the lead in the 11th minute after an Adamu Hassan goal. The second and final goal came after the restart. Nwangwa Nyima was the scorer in the 62nd minute.
After this win, Kano Pillars swapped places with Kada City and are now a point in front and in fourth place, four points off the top.