NPFL Matchday 10 Round-up: Enyimba Secure Oriental Derby Win, Sunshine Claim Victory in Southwest Derby

The 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) season has reached matchday ten (10), like we saw over the weekend in different venues.

Enyimba earned the bragging rights by winning 1 nil on the road (Dan Anyiam Stadium) in the Oriental derby versus Heartland. Upon replacing Chijioke Mbaoma in the 78th minute, Stephen Chukwude netted the decider with his first touch three minutes later, hence Kennedy Boboye’s first game in charge of Heartland ended in a lose. The People’s Elephant led by Finidi George are now 5th (16 points) with a game in hand, and the Naze Millionaires are bottom of the log (6 points).

At the Akure Township Stadium, Moses Omodumueke found the back of the net in the 24th minute (the only goal of the clash) as Sunshine Stars recorded a slim victory over Paul Offor’s Sporting Lagos in the Southwest Derby. The result means Sporting are yet to grab a win in their last three games – having lost to Lobi Stars by a lone goal in matchday 8, and a 1-1 scoreline against Heartland in their last contest. The Noisy Lagosians have claimed 12 points (14th), whereas the Akure Gunners are above in 11th (13 points).

Kwara United breezed through Gombe United in a 2-0 result at home. Muhammed Alao hit home the opener in the 37th minute and Garba Abubakar increased the tally to two with five minutes left on the clock. However, Sadiq Shuaibu had the opportunity to register a goal for Gombe before the hour mark through a spot-kick but it was saved by goalkeeper, Adewale Adeyinka. Kwara have 13 points (9th), while Gombe are 16th, having gathered 12 points.

Elsewhere, Lobi Stars triumphed 2-1 over Shooting Stars in Lafia. Adebayo Waheed broke the deadlock as early as the second (2nd) minute to get on the scoresheet for Lobi. Meanwhile, Gideon Monday got Shooting the equalizer few minutes into the second half – and Orji Kalu’s goal via penalty before stoppage time gave Lobi the three points. The Pride of Benue are top of the standings with 20 points and Gbenga Ogunbote’s Oluyole Warriors are third (17 points).

Another Oriental derby battle between Abia Warriors and Enugu Rangers at the Umuahia Township Stadium went the way of Abia (1-0). Nwoburuoke Collins connected with Onu Emmanuel’s cross from a corner kick to net the winner after two minutes of action. Abia have accumulated 15 points in 7th, and Rangers are 6th with the same points.

In Kaduna (Ahmadu Bello Stadium), Bashir Usman struck with a great finish for Niger Tornadoes in the 64th minute – and they were able to defend their lead to win by a lone goal in their face-off with Akwa United. Tornadoes (Ikon Allah Boys) occupies 17th place after amassing 11 points, compared to the Promise Keepers’ 10 in 18th.

The tie between Katsina United and Bayelsa United finished a goal apiece at Muhammadu Dikko Stadium. Tekena Garando scored in the 42nd minute to give Bayelsa the lead, but Bello Lukman rescued a point for his side after netting a minute after the hour mark. The Katsina side (Chanji Boys) have 13 points in 12th and Bayelsa (the Restoration Boys) are in ‘relegation place’ 19th (9 points).

Doma United grabbed a point from Remo Stars after playing out a goalless draw in Ikenne. The draw takes Doma to second with 18 points, while Daniel Ogunmodede’s Sky Blue Stars are 4th (16 points) – with an outstanding game.

After a two-all draw with Kwara United in their last game, Bendel Insurance held Kano Pillars to a stalemate affair at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano. The Benin Arsenal currently sits 8th (14 points) – and Pillars are 13th with 13 points.

Plateau United’s tie against Rivers United was postponed following Rivers’ involvement in the CAF Confederation Cup versus Angolan side, Academica Do Lobito in Group C. Consequently, Rivers won 3-0 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo. Samuel Antwi broke the deadlock three minutes into the game feeding off Paul Odeh’s pass – and Odeh doubled the lead in the 46th minute. Shedrack Asiegbu further increased the lead a minute after the hour mark as Stanley Eguma’s side seal the victory. Club Africain of Tunisia defeated Dreams of Ghana 2 nil in the other group game, which sees the Pride of Rivers top of the group after a game.

The nine games played from the matchday ten fixtures recorded 11 goals – 6 wins and 3 draws.

Hope Ejairu

Hope Ejairu is a writer, sports analyst and journalist, with publications on print and digital media. He holds certifications in various media/journalism trainings, including AFP.

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