NPFL Week Three Review: Heartland shock Nasarawa United in Lafia

Heartland Starting XI
The Owerri side have jumped to the top of Group B after securing a win in Lafia among other results recorded in Group A and B of the NPFL

Nasarawa United 0-1 Heartland

The Naze Millionaires secured their first away win of the season against Nasarawa United whom they defeated 1-0 through the strike of Samuel Nnoshiri in the first half of the encounter decided at the Lafia Township Stadium.

It was the right response for the Owerri side who have now secured two successive victories against Plateau United and Nasarawa United after their opening day loss to Kano Pillars in Kano and they have risen to the top of Group B with six points and plus three goals difference from three games ahead of El Kanemi Warriors who have been pushed to second on goals difference even though they are also with six points.

Heartland will seek consolidation when they host Go Round in Okigwe on Wednesday in their second home game of the season while Nasarawa United have a tough assignment on their hands as they travel to Maiduguri to face El Kanemi Warriors also at midweek.


Plateau United 2-0 El Kanemi Warriors

Plateau United eventually got their rhythm against El Kanemi Warriors whom they thrashed 2-0 at the Kwara State Sports Complex, Ilorin after the hiccup of their last two games in which they got only a point to show for their effort.

Bernard Ovoke and Saeed Jibrin scored the crucial two goals to ensure that the 2017 league champions ascended to four points from three games.

Abdu Maikaba’s men are sixth in the league table with four points from three games while El Kanemi Warriors slipped to second with six points from three matches.

The Peace Boys will travel to Uyo in what will be Maikaba’s return to the city he coached Akwa United for two glorious seasons but now as the gaffer of the opposing team on Wednesday while El Kanemi will welcome Nasarawa United to Maiduguri in another midweek affair.


Kada City 2-1 Gombe United      

Kada City have got their first topflight win after they pinned Gombe United 2-1 at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna on Sunday

The Kaduna side were excused from the first two games of the top-flight to enable them to recover from the exhaustion of their participation in the Nigeria National League Super 8 which was recently concluded in Aba.

Umar Mohammed had the rare privilege of scoring Kada City first NPFL goal when he netted in the 19th minute but their joy was cut short by the Desert Scorpions who equalized through Ibrahim Enesi in the 20th minute. They managed to restore their lead through Sadiq Suleiman before the end of the first half and it was the way the game ended.

Usman Adams’ men are seventh in the league table with three points while Gombe United are 11th without a point yet.

Kada City will travel to Umuahia to trade tackles with Abia Warriors next on Wednesday while Gombe United are at home to Kano Pillars where they will be seeking their first win of the season.


Go Round 0-0 FC IfeanyiUbah

FC IfeanyiUbah continued their impressive start to the season with a goalless draw against Go Round in Omoku to ensure that they stay third in Group B with five points from three games. Not many gave the Anambra Warriors a chance before the start of the season due to the exodus to most of their experienced players but they remain unbeaten after three games and they have an opportunity to stretch it to four when they host Yobe Desert Stars on Wednesday.

It was a tough game played at the Krisdera Hotel Stadium, Omoku as it was a fixture Go Round wanted to use to record their second straight win after their surprise victory against Abia Warriors in Umuahia but they were unable to penetrate through the defence of the visitors who were led to the fixture by Uche Okagbue.

Despite the home draw, Go Round are fourth in Group B with four points from two games and are guests of Heartland in Okigwe on Wednesday while FC IfeanyiUbah are third with five points from three games.


Kano Pillars 1-1 Akwa United

Kano Pillars lost more ground on the table after they were held to a 1-1 draw by desperate Akwa United at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano

The Promise Keepers’ Ndifreke Effiong stunned Kano fans with the opening goal of the game but Sai Masu Gida fought back gamely to get the leveller in the 41st minute through Chris Madako who rose highest to nod home the important goal before the end of the first half.

Pillars had wanted to use the game to spring back to life after their defeat to El Kanemi Warriors in Maiduguri but they met Akwa United who were under intense pressure not to lose again judging by the circumstances that led to their surprise home loss to El Kanemi Warriors.

The Promise Keepers came to Kano firing on all cylinders and with the proviso that they must return back to Uyo with at least a point to ensure that they make amends for their home loss and they did score first through Effiong who got his first league goal for his new team but their lead didn’t last long with Madaki getting the equaliser to ensure that both teams emerged from the second half 1-1 apiece.

Sai Masu Gida did everything possible to get the winning goal but they were repelled by Akwa United who were pleased to return back home with a share of the spoils from Kano.

Kano Pillars will travel to Gombe to face Gombe United on Wednesday while Akwa United will try Plateau United for size in Uyo in a game the Promise Keepers will up against their former coach, Abdu Maikaba who dumped them for the Peace Boys.


Wikki Tourists 2-1 Niger Tornadoes  

Wikki Tourists barely scraped past Niger Tornadoes 2-1 to record their first win of the season at Gombe’s Pantami Stadium in one of the Group A matches of the NPFL.

The Giant Elephant have chosen Gombe’s Pantami Stadium as their alternate home ground until work is completed on the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi and they made it a winning start against Ikon Allah Boys.

Aminu Ahmad opened the floodgate of goals in the 46th minute after both teams played a goalless draw at halftime and Abba Umar scored what turned out to be an insurance goal for the home team in the 83rd minute but there was still time for Tornadoes to half the goals deficit with Ismaila Sarki’s goal in the dying minute of the game.

Wikki are third in Group A with three points from one game while Tornadoes are ninth with one point from two matches.

Wikki will travel to Katsina as guests of Katsina United who are still distraught after the kidnap of their head coach, Abdullahi Biffo who has been in his abductors' den for over one week now while Tornadoes will host Remo Stars. Both games hold on Wednesday.


Kwara United 3-2 Enyimba

In another game decided in the group, Kwara United came back from the brink of defeat twice before emerging tops in the five-goal thriller against Enyimba in an enthralling NPFL tie played at the Kwara State Sports Complex, Ilorin.

The People’s Elephant raced into the lead twice in the game through Ibrahim Mustapha and Joseph Osadiaye in the 16th and 58th minutes but the Harmony Boys levelled up on both occasions through Segun Alebiosu in the 31st and 61st minutes before Mohammed Usman got the back-breaker in the 73rd minute to ensure that Abubakar Bala’s men secure their first win of the season.

Usman Abdallah’s men were unable to build on their good start against MFM as they suffered their first loss of the season to slip to second in Group A with three points from two games while Kwara United who had earlier secured a point from their other games jumped to first in the table with four points from three games.

Enyimba will head back home to prepare for their blockbuster fixture with Lobi Stars in Aba while Kwara United will hit Benin as guests of Bendel Insurance who will play their first game in the top flight in almost 11 years on Wednesday.


Remo Stars 1-1 Bendel Insurance

The Sky Blue Stars couldn’t exert their revenge on the Edo Arsenal who held them to a 1-1 draw in the repeat of the game they played during the NNL Super 8 in Aba about two weeks ago which Bendel Insurance won 1-0.

Ageless Charles Omokaro scored the Benin side’s first NPFL goal in close to 11 years in the 54th minute before Victor Mbaoma restored parity in the 76th minute for the hosts to ensure the game ended 1-1 apiece.

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Remo Stars had unveiled Kennedy Boboye as head coach about few days to the fixture in their bid to stay more competitive than they were two seasons ago where they could only spend a season in the top flight before their return in the just-concluded season.

Both Remo and Bendel Insurance are joint fifth in Group A with one point from a match each.

Remo Stars will travel to Minna to face Niger Tornadoes on Wednesday while Bendel Insurance will trade tackles with Kwara United.