Sports

NPFL Matchday 28 Round-up: Enyimba Put Five Past Pillars, Tornadoes, Doma Record Away Wins

The 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) season ‘resumed’ with matchday 28 midweek fixtures across the country as the campaign gradually winds down.

Enyimba decimated Kano Pillars in a 5-0 result in front of their fans in Aba. Eze Ekwutoziam started the rain of goals 13 minutes into the game and Mbaoma Chijioke increased the tally in the 35th minute. Joseph Atule found the back of the net for the third on the stroke of half-time and grabbed a brace in the 69th minute. Muyiwa Balogun fired home the fifth before full-time whistle. The People’s Elephant are placed second on 48 points compared to Pillars’ 41 in 8th.

Elsewhere in Benin (Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium), Niger Tornadoes defeated Bendel Insurance 3-1. Chidiebere Ernest fed off Clinton Jephta to slot in the opener for Tornadoes in the 13th minute – and Akintunde Azeez through another Jephta’s effort doubled the lead. Few minutes later, Jephta also got on the scoresheet and was set by Azeez; while Chukwudi Meze pulled one back for Insurance in the 85th minute. The Benin Arsenal can be seen in 10th (37 points) – and Tornadoes just below (11th) with a point difference having played a game less.

Enugu Rangers put two past Sunshine Stars at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium. Kalu Nweke broke the deadlock in the 39th minute and Onyebuchi Ifeanyi sealed it for Fidelis Ikechukwu’s side with 18 minutes left on the clock. The Flying Antelopes are now unbeaten in 10 games and maintains the top spot having garnered 51 points. However, the Akure Gunners have played 27 games and amassed 34 points resulting in 13th position.

In a related development, Gbenga Ogunbote’s Shooting Stars pipped Kwara United (2-0) at Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan. Monday Gideon recorded the first goal in the 48th minute and Adewale Yusuf made it two in the latter stages of the encounter. The result takes the Oluyole Warriors’ tally to 43 in 6th and the Harmony Boys are 16th with 32 points.

Doma United picked maximum points on the road against Akwa United, winning one nil at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium (Nest of Champions). Emmanuel Jesam scored the only goal of the game after seven minutes as Doma recorded their second away win of the season. Doma have now accumulated 34 points (15th) and a game yet to be played; while the Promise Keepers (2020/2021 season champions) also with an outstanding game occupies 18th on 31 points.

Abia Warriors nicked a 1-0 triumph over Plateau United at the Umuahia Township Stadium – and it was Samson Obi who netted the decider for Bethel Oji’s side in the 58th minute. The Warriors have gathered 38 points (9th); whereas Mbwas Mangut’s Plateau are above with 44 points, 5th on the standings.

Fabby Clark, who replaced Abdulrahman Muniru four minutes after the hour mark registered his first goal of the season in the 92nd minute to see Meremu Okara’s Bayelsa United edge Heartland at Samson Siasia Stadium. Bayelsa (The Restoration Boys) can be found in 14th on 34 points – and the Naze Millionaires occupies the 19th spot with 23 points.

Lobi Stars forced Paul Offor’s Sporting Lagos to a one-all scoreline in Lagos (Onikan Stadium). Junior Lokosa utilised Wisdom Fernando’s cross to give Sporting the advantage in the 31st minute but Stanley Oganbor provided the assist for Samuel Tiza Iorwuese to level terms in the 59th minute. Lobi (The Pride of Benue) have 48 points in third and the Noisy Lagosians beneath with 35 points in 12th.

Gombe United played out a goalless affair with Daniel Ogunmodede’s Remo Stars at Pantami Stadium. The Gombe side (Savannah Scorpions) are bottom of the standings with 22 points and the Sky Blue Stars with a game in hand have 46 points and placed fourth.

Rivers United’s clash with Katsina United did not take place as scheduled due to Rivers involvement in CAF Confederation Cup second leg quarter-final tie versus USM Alger slated for April 7. Stanley Eguma’s side had earlier on Sunday defeated the Algerian side one nil through Augustine Okejepha’s finish in the 10th minute.

Out of the 9 games played in the matchday 28 fixtures, we had 7 wins (2 away from home) and 2 draws and a total of 18 goals scored.

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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