NPFL Round 20 Group B Review
On Wednesday and Thursday, clubs from Group B in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) played the 20th round of the 2019 season.
The fans at the Town Stadium in Umuahia once again had a reason to celebrate as Abia Warriors defeated the El-Kanemi Warriors to record a third win in a row. But they did it the hard way after the visitors took the lead in the second minute of the game through Mohammed Suleiman. However, the hosts recovered to equalize close to the end of the first half when Salam Atilola scored.
The second half was closely contested, and it was a penalty in the dying minutes of the game which settled the match. The referee awarded the home team a penalty in the 5th minute of stoppage time which was then converted by Obi Samson into a winning goal. This was his sixth goal this year.
Abia Warriors move up to 8th place in the Group B while the El-Kanemi Warriors keep third place thanks to a better goal difference.
With three wins and two draws in the last five matches, Kano Pillars continued their rise up the table by beating Yobe Stars away at the Town Stadium in Damaturu. One goal was enough to give the visitors a win and it was scored by Adanu Hassan in the 10th minute of the match.
Being the only top four team who won in this round, Kano Pillars increased their lead over third-placed El-Kanemi Warriors and cut the gap to first placed Akwa United to only three points. Yobe Stars stays bottom, unfortunately.
Without a win in three games, Nasarawa welcomed Gombe United to the Town Stadium in Lafia. Thomas Adesina Adeniran opened the scoring for the home team in the 28th minute before Anas Yusuf doubled their lead in the 37th minute.
Two minutes after the start of the second half, Gombe pulled a goal back courtesy of an Adamu Mohammed strike but Nasarawa did hold on for the rest of the game to win 2:1. This win puts them in 6th place, but a single point behind El-Kanemi in third. Gombe stay eleventh.
Heartland travelled to Nnewi to play FC Ifeanyi Ubah who had just suffered two defeats in a row. And they started successfully, scoring the only goal of the first half in the 38th minute after a shot from Chinonso Okonkwo. Seven minutes into the second half, they were 2:0 up when Dikov Popnen scored.
The home team scrambled and fought back after that with a substitute Eze Chibuike pulling a goal back in the 73rd minute but it wasn’t enough. Heartland took all three points to move up to the seventh place. Now with three losses in a row, FC Ifeanyi Ubah stays in 4th place thanks to a superior goal difference.
Folks from Omoku watched Go Round and Plateau United play out a 1:1 draw at the Krisdera Hotel Stadium. The hosts scored first through Chidubem Nwogbaba in the 41st minute but the visitors levelled the score in the second half when Kabiru Umar found the back of the net. Both teams stay deadlocked in ninth and tenth place level on points.
After a series of indifferent results, Delta Force has now managed a second straight win and third in five matches. This last one was at the Town Stadium in Kaduna against the Group B leaders Akwa United.
Christian Ekong scored in the 14th minute for the hosts with Iwuala Anayo doubling their lead early in the second half. Five minutes later Anayo had the chance to seal the win but he missed from the penalty spot.
The punishment came sixteen minutes later when Akwa United had a penalty of their own. Mfon Udoh, their leading scorer this year, was successful from the spot. Before the end of the match both teams went down to ten men, but Delta Force won 2:1 to halt Akwa’s three-game unbeaten run.
Akwa United stayed top of the table, but Delta Force moved up to fifth and level on points with El-Kanemi Warriors and FC Ifeanyi Ubah above them.
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