NPFL Round 20 Group A Review
This past Wednesday and Thursday saw teams from across the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) take part in round 20 of the 2019 season.
In the first match of the round, Niger Tornadoes stunned MFM two minutes into the match when Ismail Sarki scored. This turned out to be the winning goal as the hosts bravely held on for the rest of the match. The home team is now finally off the bottom of the table and in tenth place while MFM stays fourth in the standings.
After a loss in the last round, Enugu Rangers got back on the horse with a win over Bendel Insurance at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium. The hosts dominated most of the game, but the visitors managed to hold on for 85 minutes before finally capitulating.
Felix Ogbuke scored the all-important winner for the Rangers allowing them to extend their lead at the top of Group A to six points. Bendel remain ninth in the table.
Two draws and a defeat were enough motivation for Wikki Tourist to raise their game against Kwara United at the Abubarkar Tafawa Balewa Stadium in Bauchi. Ukeme Williams scored the only goal of the first half to give the hosts a lead going into the break.
Sixteen minutes after the restart, Abdullahi Musa was through on goal to double the Tourist lead. The visitors did score a goal in the 76th minute via Isah Magaji, but this was just a consolation goal in the end. On the wings of a mini unbeaten run of three games, Wikki Tourist go up to 7th place in the table while Kwara United now hold spot number eleven.
The only team unbeaten in the last five games in Group A, Lobi Stars, travelled to Port Harcourt to take on Rivers United at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium. The visitors were lucky to take the lead in the 26th minute when Odunlami Kunle put the ball in his own net. The home team could have gone level before the break, but they missed a penalty kick in the 40th minute.
Ademola Adebambo came off the bench in the 60th minute and immediately had an impact. With one of his first touches he slotted the ball past the visiting goalkeeper to save a point for his team. The point take Rivers United up a place to 5th but also keeps Lobi Stars in second place, but now six points behind the leader Enugu Rangers.
Remo Stars and Enyimba met at the Gateway International Stadium in Sagamu. The encounter finished a goalless draw, with the only excitement of the game being a red card for the home player Victor Chidume in the 62nd minute. The hosts continue their little run of unbeaten games while Enyimba record a third draw in five games, still holding 3rd in the table.
Two straight losses didn’t stop Katsina United play with confidence against the Sunshine Stars at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium. Eric Gwammy scored the opening goal for the home team in the 18th minute before Martins Usule added another one two minutes later. Just before the break, Tasiu Lawal scored to make the score 3:0 to the hosts, getting his 9th goal of the season.
The visitors scored a consolation goal in the 74th minute but couldn’t manage more. Chigozi Obasi was the scorer. The win takes Katsina United three places up the table to sixth, but the loss leaves Sunshine Stars in 8th place.
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