Sports

NPFL Matchday 18 Round-up: Abia Put Three Past Doma, Rangers Pip Gombe United

The 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) season has reached matchday 18 like we saw over the weekend.

Abia Warriors defeated Doma United three nil at the Umuahia Township Stadium. Megwo Sunday was fouled in the box, leading to a penalty, hence Ifeanyi Anaemena converted a spot kick in the 43rd minute. Megwo Sunday doubled the lead with assist provided by Onu Emmanuel in the 49th minute and Ojonugwa Adejoh made it three before stoppage time. Abia are 8th on the log with 26 points; while the Savannah Tigers have 31 points in fourth.

Enugu Rangers breezed through Gombe United in a 4-1 scoreline at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium. Wasiu Alalade opened the scoring to give Gombe the lead after 18 minutes. However, Rangers fought back as Godwin Obaje cancelled out Alalade’s goal two minutes later. Obaje grabbed his second (brace) through a penalty in the 38th minute and Chukwudi Nworgu further increased the tally three minutes after the hour mark. Agu Kenechukwu then compounded the woes of the opposition with the fourth goal in the 87th minute. Fidelis Ilechukwu’s men with an outstanding game have 25 points (9th) and the Savannah Scorpions have amassed 20 points (14th).

Elsewhere (Samson Siasia Sports Complex), Diepreye Teibowei’s Bayelsa United came out victorious (2-0) in their clash with Bendel Insurance. Garando Tekena broke the deadlock in the 18th minute, while the second was a late finish by Ofem Emmanuel. The Restoration Boys have gathered 17 points in 19th, whereas the Benin Arsenal, managed by Monday Odigie are 7th having accumulated 27 points.

In a related development, Katsina United earned a two nil success over Remo Stars at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium. Emmanuel Okoko fired home the first goal in the 22nd minute and Ibrahim Nafiu sealed the win before full-time whistle. Katsina (the Chanji Boys) sits 10th, on 23 points with a game in hand and Daniel Ogunmodede’s side are second with 32 points.

Yakubu Adams’ 9th minute goal off Nenrot Silas cross was enough for Mbwas Mangut’s Plateau United to secure the maximum point versus Finidi George’s Enyimba in Jos (New Jos Stadium). Plateau (the Peace Boys) are third on the standings with 31 points, while the People’s Elephant have 29 points and placed 5th, though they have played two games less.

Sporting Lagos and Shooting Stars played out a two all draw at Onikan Stadium. Chinedu Ufere struck in the 41st minute to give Sporting the advantage but Kareem Ademola netted the equalizer (his sixth goal of the season), assisted by Oke Kayode few minutes later – and Jonathan Alukwu restored the lead on the stroke of half-time. Shooting got back into the game following Monday Gideon’s third goal of the current campaign in the 51st minute. Gideon had earlier found the back of the net against Doma United and Lobi Stars this season and he recorded all the goals as a substitute. Sporting were reduced to ten men after Vincent Akpikpi was red carded in the 97th minute. Paul Offor’s team are yet to play a game and can be found in 16th (18 points), the Oluyole Warriors also have a game in hand but are 11th on 23 points.

Kano Pillars forced Lobi Stars to a 1-1 result at the Lafia Township Stadium. Chukwudi Oganbor Stanley put Lobi ahead as early as five minutes, while Idris Suleiman clinched a vital point for Pillars after netting in the 43rd minute. Pillars have gathered 29 points thus far and are placed 6th. Similarly, the Pride of Benue leads the table with 33 points.

Niger Tornadoes held Sunshine Stars to a barren draw at the Akure Township Stadium. Tornadoes are 13th (20 points) and the Akure Gunners have secured 22 points in 12th.

Akwa United will travel to Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt to face Rivers United for their matchday contest later today. Akwa (the Promise Keepers) have an outstanding match and are 17th (18 points), whereas the Pride of Rivers are below (18th), 17 points – but are yet to play five games.

The tie between Kennedy Boboye’s Heartland and Kwara United was postponed as a result of the inauguration of Governor Hope Uzodinma at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Imo on Monday. However, Heartland (the Naze Millionaires) are bottom of the log on 16 points with a game in hand and the Harmony Boys also have a game in hand and are 15th with 19 points.

The eight games played produced 19 goals, with the tie between Rangers and Gombe producing the highest (5) – and there were 5 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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