NPFL Matchday 21 Round-up: Pillars Humiliate Sunshine, Gombe Defeat Sporting Lagos

The 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) season has reached matchday 21 following actions across the country over the weekend.

Kano Pillars humiliated Sunshine Stars in a convincing 5-1 result at the Sani Abacha Stadium. Auwalu Ali Malam opened the scoring to give Pillars the lead four minutes into the game and veteran, Rabiu Ali made it two in the 21st minute. Mustapha Ibrahim further increased the tally with a brace in the 49th and 52nd minute respectively – and Mustapha Umar slotted in the fifth four minutes later. However, Awosanmi Promise pulled one back for the visitors with eight minutes left on the clock. Pillars are third on 36 points; while the Akure Gunners sits 18th on 23 points.

Gombe United defeated Paul Offor’s Sporting Lagos two nil at Pantami Stadium. Lukman Balogun struck first before half-time break and Taiye Yusuf gave no room for comeback after netting the second goal in the 74th minute. The Savannah Scorpions occupies 17th on the log (24 points) and the Noisy Lagosians are above (14th) with same points.

Collins Ugwueze’s finish in the 30th minute helped Enugu Rangers to claim a 1-0 triumph over Doma United on the road. Doma have secured 32 points in 7th and it is 34 points for Fidelis Ikechukwu’s side, thus 6th.

Bayelsa United also grabbed away success versus Akwa United at Eket Stadium. Though, they were reduced to ten men following Amao Oluwasegun’s red card in the 90th minute, but Eyong Nneoyi Ofem’s goal in the 78th minute sealed it for the Restoration Boys. Akwa are still languishing in the relegation zone (19th) after getting 21 points and Bayelsa in 16th (24 points).

At the Lafia Township Stadium, Lobi Stars beat Heartland by a lone goal. Kumaga Suur fired it home for Lobi eight minutes after the hour mark and he eventually won the Man of the Match award. The Pride of Benue tops the standings with 39 points compared to the Naze Millionaires’ 18 points at the bottom.

Niger Tornadoes equally earned a slim 1-0 victory over Abia Warriors in Kaduna (Ahmadu Bello Stadium). New signing, Ikenna Offor netted the winner in the 79th minute. Tornadoes have claimed 24 points thus far, hence 15th on the log – though Abia’s 27 points puts them in 11th position.

It was a one-all affair between Kwara United and Katsina United at Kwara Sports Stadium. Kwara broke the deadlock through Issa Gata in the 44th minute and the travellers got the equalizer through Adewale Adeyinka’s own goal in the 87th minute. Meanwhile, Katsina were shown two red cards; Sunday Akinmoladun (80th minute) and Emmanuel Okoko (94th minute). Kwara (the Harmony Boys) can be found in 13th having gathered 25 points and the Chanji Boys are 9th on 31 points.

Bendel Insurance and Enyimba played out a goalless affair in Benin (Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium). Monday Odigie’s Benin have 31 points and 8th placed; whereas the People’s Elephant led by Finidi George have accumulated 36 points and currently fourth.

Elsewhere, Shooting Stars held Plateau United to a stalemate encounter at the New Jos Stadium. The result sees Mbwas Mangut’s Plateau in 5th with 35 points and the Oluyole Warriors can be seen in 12th (27 points).

Remo Stars had their tie against Rivers United postponed owing to Rivers involvement in the CAF Confederation Cup. Stanley Eguma’s men travelled to battle Academica of Angola and came out victorious in a 3-2 scoreline. Ekerette Anthony Udom (40th minute), Alex Oyowah (penalty – 44th minute) and Farouk Mohammed (48th minute) made the scoresheet for the Pride of Rivers and they are currently third in Group C with 9 points after 5 matches, tied on same points with Club Africain of Tunisia in second. Ghanaian team, Dreams FC leads the group (12 points) and Academica are yet to clinch a point.

The nine NPFL games that went down produced 14 goals; 3 draws and 6 wins – two of which were away wins.

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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