NPFL Reviews: Akwa United earn away point against Gombe United

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The Promise Keepers attacker’s seventh goal of the season in Gombe was the highlight of the rescheduled games played on Sunday

BENDEL INSURANCE 0-0 ENYIMBA

Enyimba extended their unbeaten run to four games in the current campaign and have held on tightly to the second spot in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) after they forced Bendel Insurance to a goalless draw in Benin.

The People’s Elephant had started their season revival after their lacklustre away loss to Wikki Tourists in Gombe and they have won two at home and drew the other two in the away games played against Niger Tornadoes and now Bendel Insurance. The point picked in Benin is only the second time Enyimba will be securing away points this season after an underwhelming start to the season.

Usman Abdallah’s men have improved to 15 points from 10 games and they are still second behind MFM who have three points more. They will hope to end the first round with a flourish when they visit Sunshine Stars in Akure in the concluding fixture of the first stanza.

It was another important three-points missed at home by Bendel Insurance who have now drawn three out of the four games they have played at home.

It was another sorry tale by Monday Odigie’s men who were saved the shame of losing at home when the centre referee decided to rule out what looked like a legitimate goal scored by the People’s Elephant in the second half of the encounter for offside. The Edo Arsenal have slipped into the relegation zone. They are in the ninth spot in Group A with nine points from nine matches.

 

REMO STARS 2-1 WIKKI TOURISTS

Remo Stars made it a winning return to the Gateway International Stadium, Sagamu after a 2-1 win over Wikki Tourists on Sunday after they served out their banishment to Osogbo due to the unruly behaviour of their fans in their home draw with Bendel Insurance on Matchday Three.

The Sky Blue Stars got the curtain raiser in the 20th minute through Lanre Runsewe but their joy was short-lived thereafter when Adesina Gata drew the visitors level 16 minutes later. Victor Mbaoma who marked a return from injury scored the winning goal in the 89th minute from the penalty spot for his third goal of the season.

It was Kennedy Boboye’s men’s third victory of the season and they have now moved to the fifth spot with 11 points from 10 matches. They have only a point from their away trips (against Niger Tornadoes) but have lost five points at home from their loss to MFM in Osogbo and the draw with Bendel Insurance.

Remo Stars will end their first-round encounter with another home fixture against Enugu Rangers on a date to be announced by the League Management Company (LMC).

It was another painful loss to Wikki Tourists who have now lost all their five away matches. Their latest loss has seen them slip to the relegation zone in Group A with nine points from 10 games.

They have two crucial games ahead against Lobi Stars and Rivers United at the Pantami Stadium, Gombe and the result they muster from both fixtures will go a long in defining where they may likely finish at the end of the season.  

 

LOBI STARS 1-1 KATSINA UNITED

Yaya Kone came to the rescue of Lobi Stars again on Sunday after the league reigning champions stumbled in their title defence with an underwhelming 1-1 draw at home to Katsina United.

It was expected to be a routine home win for the Pride of Benue even though the Changi Boys have always proved difficult from previous encounters but they received the shock of their lives when Martins Usule put the visitors in the lead in the 12th minute. Lobi Stars were not helped by the poor marksmanship of their strikers but they did come back when Michael Stephens was impeded in the vital area and Kone converted from 12 yards to ensure that Solomon Ogbeide’s men have a share of the spoils.

Lobi are 11th in Group A with eight points from five games ahead of their next game on Wednesday.

Katsina United finally ended their unimpressive performance from their away fixtures with the hard-earned draw in Makurdi.

The Changi Boys also ended the game with complete players for the first time in three games after they had four players sent off in their matches with Sunshine Stars and Enyimba respectively. Abdullahi Biffo’s men are in the seventh spot in Group A with 10 points from seven games. They still have matches against Enugu Rangers (home), Rivers United (away), MFM (home) and Kwara United (home) before the end of the first round.

     

GOMBE UNITED 2-2 AKWA UNITED

Akwa United have cemented their place in the third spot of the NPFL in Group B after they played out a 2-2 draw against Gombe United at the Pantami Stadium, Gombe on Sunday.

It was the home team that drew the first blood through Musa Usman in the 26th minute but when it looked like the Savannah Scorpions might edge the Promise Keepers by the lone goal, Emmanuel Charles struck in the 78th minute to get the leveler for the visitors. Mfon Udoh put Akwa United in the lead for the first time in the game in the 84th minute for his seventh goal of the season but the hosts made it a frenetic end when Musa equalized for Ladan Bosso’s men in the 89th minute from the penalty spot. The referee had adjudged correctly that the Promise Keepers’ Denis Nya handled the ball in the 18-yard box.

Akwa United are third with 16 points from 10 games and they will draw a curtain on their first-round games with an away trip to Okigwe to face Heartland.

Gombe United have now gone three games without a win and they have slipped further into the drop zone with 10 points from 10 games. They are 11th in the league table.

 

KADA CITY 2-1 YOBE DESERT STARS

Kada City made it their second straight win at home to Yobe Desert Stars on Sunday whom they pipped 2-1 at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna.

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Kabiru Sanusi put Kada in the driver’s seat through a thunderbolt header in the 18th minute but Philip Auta restored parity for Yobe Desert Stars before Kabiru Sarki scored the match-winner in the 88th minute. The three points they got at home to Ngozi Elechi’s men with that in Jos against Plateau United have taken them to the seventh spot with 13 points from nine games.

The newly-promoted side have games against Kano Pillars (home) on Wednesday and Nasarawa United (away) before the end of the first round.

Yobe Stars are under the radar again for the wrong reason and the management of the club are under pressure to shake up the technical crew with the Damaturu side now three points adrift of Gombe United at the bottom of Group B. Elechi and his men have lost two games already out of the three-match ultimatum placed on them and it may be irrelevant for the club to wait until the end of another game before effecting changes. 

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