NPFL Matchday 29 Round-up: Tornadoes, Plateau United Win Big at Home

The 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) season is taking shape as we approach the end of the campaign.

Niger Tornadoes thrashed Gombe United five nil at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna. Clinton Jephta commenced the rain of goals after six minutes and Chidiebere Ernest increased the lead in the 10th minute. Mohammed Hussaini registered the third goal in the 50th minute, while Bashir Usman’s penalty made it four in the 76th minute. Jephta wrapped it up with his second (brace) – his team’s fifth in the latter stages of the game. Tornadoes (the Ikon Allah Boys) occupies 9th spot on the standings (39 points) with a game in hand – and the Savannah Scorpions are bottom of the log on 22 points.

Plateau United also won big, humiliating Doma United by four unreplied goals at the New Jos Stadium. David Onovo broke the deadlock 20 minutes into the game and Barnabas Daniel fired home the second in the 35th minute. Sunday Anthony grabbed his first goal of the season with a header for the third and Bernard Mundi finished off the game for Mbwas Mangut’s side before full-time whistle. Plateau sits 5th on 47 points; while the Savannah Tigers are placed 12th having amassed 37 points.

Elsewhere, Katsina United secured a 4-3 win over Enugu Rangers in Katsina (Muhammadu Dikko Stadium). The Katsina side were on the ascendancy following Azeez Falolu’s finish in the 5th minute but Saviour Isaac restored parity five minutes later. Michael Okoro Ibe struck in the 17th to put Katsina in front yet again and Godwin Obaje cancelled it out within a minute. Okoro Ibe recorded a brace for host’s third before half-time break and the fourth came off Andrew Idoko few minutes into the second half; while Joel Odoh reduced the deficit for Fidelis Ikechukwu’s men in the 81st minute. The triumph takes the Chanji Boys’ tally to 44 in 6th with an outstanding game; though the Flying Antelopes are top of the standings on 51 points.

Heartland defeated Sporting Lagos 3-1 at Enyimba International Stadium in Aba. Stephen Chukwude netted the opener in the 39th to give Heartland the advantage, however, Junior Lokosa – who was assisted by Paschal Durugbor scored the equaliser in the 49th minute. Meanwhile, Chukwude restored the lead with his second by converting a spot-kick in the 75th minute and Chukwudi Esobe compounded the woes of the opposition three minutes later. The Naze Millionaires have 26 points in 19th compared to the Noisy Lagosians’ 35 points in 13th.

Daniel Ogunmodede’s Remo Stars got the better of Akwa United at home (Ikenne) in a 2-1 result. Abayomi Adebayo swung in a free-kick that was laid by Sodiq Ismail for Remo’s lead in the 39th minute – and as a result of a foul on Dayo Ojo in the rival’s box, Sikiru Alimi doubled the advantage before the end of first period – while Heutchou Gerome pulled one back for Akwa few minutes into the commencement of second half. Despite playing a game less, the Sky Blue Stars occupies the third position, totalling 49 points – and the Promise Keepers with all matches played thus far are 18th on the table (31 points).

Alao Dabani’s goal in the 58th minute clinched the maximum points for Lobi Stars versus Finidi George’s Enyimba at the Lafia City Stadium. It is now 51 points for the Pride of Benue in second (same points with league leaders, Rangers), whereas the People’s Elephant are 4th on 48 points.

Kwara United and Bendel Insurance shared the spoils in a one-all encounter in Ilorin. Meyinwa Oritseweyinmi found the back of the net to put Insurance ahead in the 23rd minute. However, Ejeh Isaiah’s penalty three minutes after the hour mark cancelled it out. The Harmony Boys have now accumulated 33 points (16th) with a game yet to be played; and the Benin Arsenal having played all matches are 10th (38 points).

In a related development, Kennedy Boboye’s Sunshine Stars squeezed out a 1-1 scoreline in their tie with Bayelsa United at Akure Township Stadium. Abdulrahman Muniru was on target for Bayelsa in the 40th minute – and Adeniji Babatunde nicked a point for the host five minutes after the hour mark. While both teams have garnered same points (35); Sunshine (the Akure Gunners) have played 28 games and can be found in 14th; whilst the Restoration Boys with all 29 contests played are 15th.

Abia Warriors and Rivers United’s clash was postponed due to Rivers’ CAF Confederation Cup second leg quarter-final tie with USM Alger at Stade Omar Hammadi. Stanley Eguma’s team lost 2-0 leading to their ‘ouster’ from the competition owing to a 1-0 success at home in the first leg through Augustine Okejepha’s 10th minute goal. Meanwhile, Abdoulaye Kanou registered the two goals (37th and 74th minute respectively) for the Algerian outfit, thus 2-1 on aggregate.

Kano Pillars will slug it out with Shooting Stars on Monday (today by 4pm) at Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano, leaving the total number of goals witnessed in the matchday 29 fixtures at 28 – 6 wins and 2 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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