NPFL Matchday 27 Round-up: Akwa United, Rangers Secure Away Win

The matchday 27 of the 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) season went down over the weekend in different venues as the campaign gradually draws to an end.

Akwa United claimed a 2-1 win over Mbwas Mangut’s Plateau United at the New Jos Stadium. Gerome Heutchou broke the deadlock in the 10th minute to give Akwa the lead and Sunday Anthony restored parity for Plateau through a spot-kick in the 77th minute. Sani Suleiman gained a penalty after he was fouled in the box, leading to a penalty in the 90th minute. Suleiman converted the penalty to seal the away victory for Umar Abdullahi’s men. The Promise Keepers are placed 16th on 31 points and the Peace Boys have 44 points in 5th.

In a related development, Enugu Rangers pipped Heartland 2-1 on the road in an Oriental Derby clash at Enyimba Stadium, Aba. Ifeanyi Onyebuchi ‘set the tone’ for the Flying Antelopes, netting after 37 minutes and Kalu Nweke made it two in the 54th minute. However, Chukwuebuka Ogbonna pulled one back for Heartland before full-time whistle. The result leaves the Naze Millionaires bottom of the table with 23 points, while Fidelis Ikechukwu’s side leads the standings having amassed 48 points.

Daniel Ogunmodede’s Remo Stars defeated Bendel Insurance two-nil in front of their fans in Ikenne. Remo kept it late following Olamilekan Adebayo’s finish in the 81st minute – and Haruna Hadi, who was set up by Adams Olamilekan compounded opposition woes with two minutes left on the clock. The Sky Blue Stars have gathered 45 points in third, though Insurance (the Benin Arsenal) are beneath in 9th on 37 points.

Katsina United beat Abia Warriors 2-1 at home (Muhammadu Dikko Stadium) and they achieved the triumph by going behind via Wotlai Daniel’s goal in the 8th minute, but they rallied back as Andrew Idoko scored the equalizer in the 49th minute – and Falolu Azeez fired home the winner nine minutes later. While Katsina (Chanji Boys) have 41 points in 7th; Abia’s 35 points sees them in 10th.

It was a similar scoreline at the Kwara Sports Complex in Ilorin as Kwara United got the better of Enyimba. Emmanuel Ogbole registered a brace in the 8th and 49th minute respectively for the host; while Ikenna Cooper found the back of the net for the People’s Elephant in the 38th minute. The Harmony Boys with an outstanding game have accumulated 32 points in 14th – and Enyimba after playing all matches thus far have 45 points in 4th.

Umar Mustapha’s goal in the 48th minute earned Kano Pillars a lone goal success over Paul Offor’s Sporting Lagos at the Sani Abacha Stadium. The glory increases Pillars point tally to 41 and 6th on the log; while the Noisy Lagosians are ‘farther’ in 11th (34 points).

The Savannah Derby encounter between Doma United and Gombe United ended one-all at Pantami Stadium. David Nnaji struck the opener 12 minutes into the game as Gombe took advantage, but Musa Usman cancelled it out four minutes after the hour mark to see both teams share the spoils. Doma currently sits 13th on 34 points; whereas Gombe are in the relegation zone – 19th on 24 points.

Elsewhere in Lafia Township Stadium, Meremu Okara’s Bayelsa United held Lobi Stars to a goal apiece contest. Sunday Chinedu put Lobi in front in the 61st minute and Kehinde Lawal’s effort levelled terms for Bayelsa 16 minutes later. Consequently, Lobi (the Pride of Benue) occupies second position with 47 points – a point behind leaders, Rangers and the Restoration Boys can be found in 17th (31 points).

While the tie between Sunshine Stars and Rivers United was postponed due to the Pride of Rivers engagement on the continent; Niger Tornadoes and Shooting Stars will complete the matchday 27 fixtures later on Monday (today) by 4pm.

Out of the eight (8) games played, 6 wins were recorded and two of the victories were achieved away from home, with the other matches ending in draws – and a total of 19 goals registered across all centres.

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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