NPFL Round 21 Group A review
Monday 20th May was the day for the penultimate round of this season’s Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL). Some teams have already secured their playoff spots while others will fight until the last round to see if they make it.
Katsina United travelled to Lagos to play MFM who were at that point just two points above them in the table. But they came across an MFM team needing to get a win at home after three games without one. And they were off in the 11th minute when Kabir Adeniji found the back of the net. This was the only action in the first half.
Five minutes after the restart the visitors equalized through Timothy Danladi. It was a close encounter after that but in the end MFM managed to score again this time leaving no time for a comeback. Jonathan Zikiye scored in the first minute of stoppage time.
The home team finally notched a win to solidify their fourth place while Katsina United remained seventh in the standings.
Title defenders Lobi Stars defeated Wikki Tourist at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi. After a goalless first half, Austin Ogunye scored four minutes into the second half for the hosts. The visiting team fought back and levelled the score in the 69th minute after a Ukeme Williams strike.
However, twelve minutes later, Alimi Sikiru was through on goal to restore the lead for the home team and secure the win. Lobi Stars continue their good run of unbeaten games to stay second while at the same time snapping Wikki Tourist’s mini unbeaten run forcing them to drop a place in the standings.
After three good results, Remo Stars went to Ilorin to face Kwara United who needed a win to try and reach safety on the last match day. There were no goals in the first half but then the hosts broke the deadlock with two quick goals in the second half.
Uche Onwuansanya scored the opener in the 73rd minute with Abdularazak Alamoyo doubling the lead five minutes later. The visitors only managed a consolation goal in the second minute of stoppage time, courtesy of Victor Mbaoma.
Remo Stars is dead last in the table while Kwara United is in 10th and three points off safety. Theoretically, if they get a big win next weekend and Sunshine Stars lose badly, they could make it.
Looking for a win after a three-game drought, Enyimba struggled to break down Niger Tornadoes at the International Stadium in Aba in the first period. It took a penalty in the dying stages of the first half to give them the lead. Ifeanyi Anaemena was the one who scored it.
The home team added a second goal in the 80th minute when Mustapha Ibrahim beat the goalkeeper. With a two goals advantage, they brought the win home but had to play the last five minutes or so with ten men after Nasiru Sanni saw red.
Enyimba stayed third with MFM one point behind and chasing them. Niger Tornadoes have been relegated.
The Group A leaders Enugu Rangers secured first place in the table after narrowly beating Rivers United at home. The visitors held on until the 85th minute when Ezeh Chidera scored the all-important winner. With this win, the hosts qualify for the NPFL playoffs and wait on who will join them there. Rivers United will finish the season in the middle of the table.
Bendel Insurance secured their survival by beating Sunshine stars 1:0 at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City. They scored the winner six minutes after kick-off with Junior Osaghae getting his fifth goal of the season. Sunshine Stars are in the relegation zone and have a hard game against MFM in the last round. Theoretically, they could avoid going down.
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