NPFL Matchday 17 Round-up: Akwa United Surmount Abia Test, Remo Secure Southwest Derby Win

It’s new year and it’s also the continuation of the 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) season as matchday 17 went underway across different centres.

Akwa United surmounted Abia Warriors’ test in a 3-1 scoreline at Eket Township Stadium. Onu Emmanuel broke the deadlock with an assist provided by Samson Obi after 28 minutes to put Abia in front, but Akwa rallied back which started from Mubarak Said, who was set up by Osoba Kabir for the equalizer in the 40th minute. David Philip struck two minutes later and Hadi Mohammed’s penalty in the 57th minute sealed the victory. The win takes the Promise Keepers to 18 points in 16th, while Abia are 8th with 23 points.

Remo Stars claimed the bragging rights following a two nil over Edith Agoye’s Sunshine Stars in the Southwest derby in Ikenne. Remo kept it late to earn the maximum points as Okon Aniekeme opened the scoring in the 90th minute and grabbed a brace before stoppage time. Daniel Ogunmodede’s Sky Blues Stars are top of the standings having amassed 32 points and the Akure Gunners sits 11th, on 21 points.

Niger Tornadoes pipped Kennedy Boboye’s team, Heartland in a five-goal thriller (3-2) at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna. Tornadoes scored first through Akintunde Azeez eleven minutes into the game. Clement Ogbobe restored parity in the 34th minute and George Jenom slot in the lead two minutes later. However, Tornadoes overturned the deficit as Mohammed Hussaini levelled terms before half-time break and Sadiq Isyaka found the back of the net for the winner in the 76th minute. Tornadoes (Ikon Allah Boys) have garnered 19 points (15th) and the Naze Millionaires are 19th after securing 16 points.

Doma United claimed a 2-0 triumph over Katsina United at Pantami Stadium, Gombe. Doma wrapped the game up before ten minutes following Bidemi Owoku’s header in the 2nd minute and Samuel Enefiok registered the second off Andrew Majalisa’s cross six minutes later. Akinade Onigbinde’s men are placed third on 31 points; whereas the Chanji Boys upon the loss have 20 points in 12th and an outstanding game.

In a related development, Monday Odigie’s Bendel Insurance defeated Enugu Rangers 2-0 in front of their fans (Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium). Junior Osaghae recorded the first goal in the 15th minute and Ismail Sarki fired home the second a minute after the hour mark. The Benin Arsenal occupies 6th on the log (27 points), compared to Fidelis Ilechukwu’s men’s 22, 9th and a game in hand.

Elsewhere, Enyimba put two unreplied goals past the side managed by Paul Offor, Sporting Lagos in Aba. Eze Ekwutoziam’s spot-kick gave the People’s Elephant the advantage in the 31st minute – and Elijah Akanni, who replaced Ekene Awazie eight minutes after the hour mark made it two in the 90th minute. With two games less, Finidi George’s men are 4th on 29 points; albeit the Noisy Lagosians with a game in hand can only boast of 17 points in 18th.

Lobi Stars put up a good performance to get the better of Kwara United on the road (Kwara Sports Complex) in a 2-0 result. Godwin Oshagbemi scored an own goal in the 21st minute and Chukwudi Oganbor Stanley increased the tally before half-time whistle. Kwara’s best chance to reduce the deficit came in the 54th minute with a penalty in sight but it didn’t materialize, hence Samson Paul’s shot was saved by Lucky Abdullahi. Lobi, the Pride of Benue are second; tied on same points (32) with Remo in first place, though the Harmony Boys are farther in 14th (19 points).

At the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano Pillars earned a slim 2-1 success over Plateau United. Albert Hilary scored the opener, having his way through Pillars defenders before rendering the goalkeeper helpless in the 45th minute. Meanwhile, Abdullahi Haruna cancelled out Hilary’s goal in the 75th minute and Abdullahi Musa completed the task for Pillars with four minutes left on the clock. The Sai Masu Gida’s have 28 points in 5th and Mbwas Mangut’s side – the Peace Boys are 7th on 25 points with a game less.

Kareem Ademola’s great finish as early as eleven minutes was enough for Shooting Stars to get the better of Bayelsa United at Lekan Salami Stadium. Gbenga Ogunbote’s Shooting can be found in 10th (22 points) with a match yet to be played and Diepreye Teibowei’s Restoration Boys remains bottom of the table (14 points).

Gombe United and Rivers United shared the spoils (1-1) in Gombe (Pantami Stadium) with both goals coming in the first half. Andy Okpe recorded Rivers’ goal in the 45th minute, but Wasiu Alalade responded before the referee blew for half-time break. The Savannah Scorpions have gathered 20 points, thus 13th; while the Pride of Rivers are short of five games, 17th on 17 points.

The ten (10) games witnessed 25 goals, 9 wins with Lobi Stars pulling off the only away glory in Kwara; and a draw to wrap up the matchday 17 contests.

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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