NPFL Round 17 Group A Review
After a short break, the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) was back to the normal schedule this past weekend. Only a couple of matches were played during the break. Enugu Rangers played the last two of their outstanding matches and lost both.
After beating Enugu Rangers in one of the postponed matches earlier, Bendel Insurance was held by Niger Tornadoes in Benin City. The hosts extended their unbeaten run to five games and go up to eighth in the table while Niger Tornadoes stay second from bottom with just one defeat in the last five matches.
Sunshine Stars registered an important win against the Wikki Tourist team at the Akure Town Stadium. Franklin Sasere scored the opening goal for the home team which is only his second goal of the season. Fourteen minutes later, Anthony Omaka made it 2:0 to Sunshine Stars.
In the dying minutes of the first half, Wikki pulled a goal back through Umar Abba who now has seven goals this season. The second half was goalless. With only their second triumph in the last five matches, Sunshine Stars go up to sixth place in the table while Wikki Tourist drops to ninth.
Going on five games without a win, MFM had to beat Rivers United at the Agege Stadium in Lagos. And they did with the narrowest of margins. Four minutes into the game, the referee awarded them a penalty which Chijioke Akuneto successfully converted into the only goal of the game.
This win solidifies MFM FC in third place in Group A, three points away from Lobi Stars and a single point behind second-placed Enyimba. River United stay in 7th in the standings.
Kwara United and Lobi Stars played out a goalless draw at the Kwara Sports Stadium in Ilorin. The visitors played most of the second half with ten men after Monsiru Bashiru got his marching orders having received two yellow cards. The home team is now four games without a win staying 10th in the table while Lobi Stars keep their fourth place on account of a better goal difference.
Fans at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium in Katsina watched their team beat the visiting Remo Stars 3:2 in an exciting encounter. The hosts went 1:0 early after Tasiu Lawal scored from the penalty spot in the 9th minute. Three minutes later, Chinedu Ajanah double their lead.
In a goal-filled first half, Victor Chidume pulled one back for the Remo Stars in the 25th minute before Lawal got his second goal of the game seven minutes later. The score was 3:1 to the home team at the break.
The visitors worked hard to come back in the second half, but could only manage a single goal which wasn’t enough for a full comeback. Mustapha Gbolahan got their second goal in the 80th minute. Tasiu Lawal’s second goal was his seventh of the season and has moved his team up to 5th in the table. Remo Stars remain bottom with no wins in the last five matches.
In a top of the table matchup, Enyimba met Enugu Rangers at the Enyimba International Stadium in Aba. The hosts scored two quick goals in the first half to go into the break with a nice advantage. Ifeanyi Anaemena scored in the 15th minute while Jean-Marie Guera added the second one three minutes later.
The Group A leaders fought back in the second half with Godwin Aguda scoring four minutes after the restart, but it wasn’t going to stop Enyimba in this match. The hosts responded and scored their third and final goal of the game in the 60th minute. Anaemena netted his second of the day and his fourth of the season.
Enyimba stay unbeaten and move just three points away from the Rangers who now lost three games in a row in the space of two weeks.
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