ENUGU RANGERS 2-1 WIKKI TOURISTS
Enugu Rangers took a leap to the sixth position in Group A league table with nine points from four games after they secured their third win of the season with a nail-biting 2-1 victory over Wikki Tourists at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium. Enugu.
Michael Uchebo scored his first goal of the season in all competitions for the Flying Antelopes when he got the curtain raiser in the 60th minute before Godwin Aguda notched the second goal and his own season opener in the NPFL this season in the 78th minute.
The Giant Elephant made it a fascinating end to the tie in Enugu when they reduced the arrears two minutes from time through Abba Umar who notched his fourth goal of the season. Aliyu Zubairu’s men are eighth in the league log with nine points from eight games.
ENYIMBA 2-0 KATSINA UNITED
At the Enyimba International Stadium, Aba, Ifeanyi Anaemena and Abdulrahman Bashir scored twice for Enyimba in the 34th (penalty kick) and 60th minutes respectively against Katsina United to ensure that the People's Elephant move to the second spot in Group A with 14 points from nine games.
The People’s Elephant have now extended their unbeaten run to three matches for the first time this season after the win over the Changi Boys. They will slug it out with Sunshine Stars next in Akure in a must-win home tie for the Owena Whales. It will definitely stretch the endurance level of Usman Abdallah’s men.
Abdullahi Biffo and his men could not put up serious opposition to Enyimba in spite of their threat before the game. The defeat ensured they slip in the league table to seventh with nine points from six games.
KWARA UNITED 2-0 NIGER TORNADOES
Kwara United head coach, Abubakar Bala had the last laugh again over his former employers after his wards sent them packing back to Minna empty-handed 2-0 at the Kwara State Sports Complex, Ilorin.
Nosiru Afees put the Harmony Boys in the driver’s seat in the 61st minute after the first half had ended goalless before skipper of the side, Lukman Binuyo doubled the advantage 19 minutes later to make contemplating a comeback a tough call for Ikon Allah Boys. Kwara United moved to fourth in the Group A table with 12 points from nine games.
Tornadoes indifferent season continued in Ilorin after they succumbed to another loss. It was their fifth loss of the season after 10 matches. They are currently at the bottom of Group A with seven points from 10 games.
BENDEL INSURANCE 1-1 RIVERS UNITED
Bendel Insurance were held once again at home by Rivers United in a top-flight clash played at the UNIBEN Sports Complex, Benin.
Before the game with the Pride of Rivers, Insurance had only won just one of the two games they played at home against Kwara United (0-0) and Lobi Stars (1-0) but they couldn’t get past a sturdy Rivers United who came to Benin with a strategy not lose to their hosts to compensate for the goalless draw they had at home against Kwara United in Port Harcourt two weeks ago.
The visitors were caught napping early in the game when Michael Ugwu nodded the curtain raiser in the 13th minute to put the Edo Arsenal in the lead and they protected their lead until halftime. But Stanley Eguma’s men resumed the second half the better side and capitalized on their hosts’ defenders’ indecisiveness to net the equalizer in the 49th minute through Ossy Martins who converted his second goal of the season. Martins two goals for the Pride of Rivers have come from away games in Minna and Benin.
Monday Odigie’s men thus missed the largesse of the Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu who had promised them two million naira for each goal against Rivers United. He may not be moved to redeem his pledge for the lone goal they scored on Wednesday with another two points dropped at home. Insurance are ninth in Group A with eight points from eight games.
Rivers United gained another precious away point to the two they bagged against Niger Tornadoes and Sunshine Stars in Minna and Akure respectively. They are now fifth with 10 points from seven games.
LOBI STARS 2-1 REMO STARS
Lobi Stars needed a stoppage-time winner from Yaya Kone who scored their opening goal in the game as well to beat Remo Stars at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi on Wednesday.
It was only the reigning league Champions fourth game of the season in the league with most of their fixtures shifted because of their involvement in the Caf Champions League competition. They returned to winning ways after their disappointing 1-0 away loss to Bendel Insurance in Benin.
Lobi Stars were ahead in the game in the 14th minute through Kone who has been inspirational to the team’s campaign in Africa and in the domestic scene but Sunday Williams restored parity for the Sky Blue Stars nine minutes later after a fine pass from Tayo Adebogun. The Ivorian however rescued his team from the jaw of a home draw with the scorcher in the 91st minute.
Solomon Ogbeide’s men are still battling with the relegation because of the outstanding games they have at hand. They are presently 11th in Group A with seven points.
Remo Stars had gone into the game in Makurdi at the back of their home win over Kwara United in Sagamu but they were given reality check by Lobi Stars with the loss. They have now slid to 10th in the league table with eight points from nine games.
PLATEAU UNITED 0-1 KADA CITY
In Group B of the Nigeria Professional Football League played in Jos, Kada City recorded their first ever top-flight away win after they dazed Plateau United 1-0 at the New Jos Road Stadium on Wednesday.
The Peace Boys welcome the return of their head coach, Abdu Maikaba from the national assignment with the Flying Eagles but it couldn’t prevent a home loss in the North Central derby and the 2017 league champions must do something special if they do not want to suffer the shame of getting relegated at the end of the season.
Kada City pounced on the visitors poorly executed counter-attack to net the only goal of the game in the 81st minute through Sadiq Suleiman and efforts of the home team to secure an equalizer were unsuccessful with the Kaduna side disciplined defence for the rest of the encounter.
The win lifted Usman Adams' men off the bottom of the group to the 10th spot with 10 points from eight matches while the home loss saw Plateau United plummet to ninth with 11 points from 10 games.
AKWA UNITED 1-0 FC IFEANYI UBAH
At the Nest of Champions Stadium, Uyo, Akwa United recorded their first win over FC IfeanyiUbah in two years after a 1-0 home win with Mfon Udoh with the deciding goal in the 40th minute for his sixth goal of the campaign.
Udoh who had two goals in the opening four matches of the season has now scored in his last four games for the Promise Keepers and his goals have fetched his club 11 points from five games.
The Promise Keepers have moved to third spot in Group B with 15 points from nine games courtesy of the victory while the Anambra Warriors still held on to their first spot on goals difference with 18 points from 10 games.
Despite having two out of their three players on U-23 assignment: Chinedu Anozie and Chijioke Alaekwe available for the tie, they couldn’t stop the roller coaster run of their hosts who have now amassed 14 points from their last five matches. The loss suffered against Akwa United in Uyo was the first time the Anambra Warriors will be beaten in an away game this season.
They have the chance to finish the first round with a flourish when they face Kano Pillars at the Ifeanyi Ubah Stadium on Wednesday. A home win should guarantee them the first spot at the end of the first round unless El Kanemi Warriors record a basketful of goals at home to Gombe United.
GOMBE UNITED 0-1 GO ROUND
GO Round secured their second away win of the season at the Pantami Stadium, Gombe after they pipped Gombe United 1-0 through the strike of former Abia Warriors' striker, Henry Ochuba who struck in the seventh minute of the encounter.
The three points ensured that GO Round are now fourth in the league table with 15 points from 10 games.
Willy Udube’s men responded positively to their home draw with Nasarawa United in Omoku to grab the all-important three points against Gombe United. They need to be more consistent at home where they already lost six points from the three home draws with Kada City, FC Ifeanyi Ubah and Nasarawa United.
It was back to square one for the Savannah Scorpions who were given reality check by GO Round barely a week after they got the morale-boosting away draw against Heartland in Okigwe.
Ladan Bosso must regroup his troops for the tasks ahead as they play their remaining two games of the first round against El Kanemi Warriors and Akwa United. They are 11th in the league table with nine points from nine games.
NASARAWA UNITED 1-0 YOBE DESERT STARS
Nasarawa United have heaped more misery on underfire Yobe Desert Stars whom they pipped 1-0 at the Lafia Township Stadium.
A solitary strike from U-23 invitee Isah Ndala two minutes before halftime was the difference between both teams as Solid Miners jumped to the seventh spot in Group B with 13 points from 10 games.
It was the first time Bala Nikyu’s men will play two consecutive games undefeated after they scooped a point off GO Round in Omoku last week and their latest result. It was the adequate response required of Nasarawa United after their 5-2 bashing in the hands of Gombe United three matches ago.
Yobe Desert Stars seemed down and out based on the result of their latest outing in Lafia and they are currently at the bottom of Group B with seven points from eight games.
Despite the accident had by their head coach, Ngozi Elechi on his way for the game and the death of his mother a few days earlier, it is not yet known if the management of Yobe Stars will act on the three-match ultimatum after just a game which they had lost in Lafia.
Recall that Abdulrahman Ago led Yobe Stars management team gave the technical crew the ultimatum to win their next three games against Nasarawa United, GO Round (home) and Kada City (away) or get kicked out.
KANO PILLARS 2-0 ABIA WARRIORS
Kano Pillars muscled their way past hard fighting Abia Warriors whom they beat 2-0 courtesy of two late goals from Gambo Mohammed and Rabiu Ali in the 72nd and 87th minutes at the Kano Pillars Stadium, Sabon Gari.
Mohammed was restored as Sai Masu Gida skipper for the game and it seemed it provided the right momentum for the former Super Eagles striker who wound back the time to play one of his best games in the colours of Kano Pillars. Ali also indicated he was not pained by the club decision to strip him of the captain duties when he converted the second goal from the spot for his third of the season.
Pillars were forced to postpone the commemorative match organized for one of their late defenders, Chinedu Udoji because of the league game and they showed in the tie that it was the right decision with the 2-0 win which has taken them to the fifth position in Group B with 14 points from nine games.
Abia Warriors have gone on three matches winless streak with their last win in the top-flight coming four games ago against Heartland when they pipped the Naze Millionaires 1-0 in Umuahia. They are now eighth in the group with 11 points from nine games and they are under pressure to record maximum points in their remaining two games against Plateau United (home) and Yobe Desert Stars (away).
EL KANEMI WARRIORS 2-0 HEARTLAND
El Kanemi Warriors cruised past Heartland 2-0 with two late strikes which cemented their foothold of the second spot in the league table with 18 points from 10 games.
After a difficult first half which ended without a goal for either side, the Borno Army turned the heat on the Naze Millionaires in the second half and they were rewarded with the opening goal of the game in the 74th minute through Ba’akaka Kolo before Innocent Gabriel put the icing on the cherry with the second goal four minutes from the final whistle.
It was another sad end for Heartland in Maiduguri and they are yet to win a game in their last three games after their close 3-2 victory over Kada City in Okigwe. They are fast slipping down the league ladder where they currently occupy the sixth spot with 14 points from 10 games.
The Naze Millionaires have a tough game next week against Akwa United who have since regained their composure after their early stuttering and anything other than a home win could spell doom for Mehmet Tayfun’s men as they head into the midseason break.