January, 6 2024.
The ever-fluid and dynamic change of guard, at the top of the 2023/24 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), continued unabated on Saturday, with Doma United FC returning to the summit of the log, after a routine 2-0 thrashing of Katsina United.
Bidemi Owuku got the opener for Doma United as early as the 2nd minute of play, before Samuel Enefiok netted six minutes later, to make it 2-Nil, at a packed Pantami Stadium, in Gombe.
The victory was subsequently never in doubt, as the defenders of the Savannah Tigers restricted Coach Abubakar Bala tutored Katsina United to half chances, and long range shots.
Victory saw Doma United regain top spot, with 31 points from 17 games, 2 points clear of Remo Stars of Ikenne and Lobi Stars of Makurdi who have now reclined to 2nd and 3rd respectively, with 29 points, apiece.
On the other hand, defeat was the second in four games, since Coach Bala mounted the saddle as Head Coach of Katsina United. His record now stands at 2 Wins and 2 defeats, after four games.
The 2-Nil score-line was replicated by Bendel Insurance of Benin, who hosted Rangers Int'l FC of Enugu, at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
A goal in each half, by Junior Osaghae in the 15th minute, and Ismail Sariki sixty seconds, pass the hour mark saw the Benin Arsenal run out comfortable 2-0 winners over Enugu Rangers, who appeared to have ended their recent patch of bad results, on the road, when they forced Enyimba to a 1-all draw in Aba, just before the Yuletide.
Interestingly, it was the first meeting of both sides, since Insurance edged the Flying Antelopes 1-0 to win the 2023 Nigeria Federation Cup final; a game that was decided at the Stephen Keishi Stadium, in Asaba, Delta State.
Victory means, Insurance are now 4th on 27 points, earned from 17 games; while Fidelis Ilechukwu's stuttering Rangers remain in 9th position, with 22 points and a game in hand.
The positions of the four teams are however expected to change, after the remaining eight Day 17 fixtures of the NPFL, are decided at designated venues across the country, on Sunday.
Remo Stars could regain top spot, should the Sky Blues from Ikenne-Remo beat Sunshine Stars, at the Akure Township Stadium; and the story is same for Lobi Stars who are away to Kwara United in Ilorin.
But should both games end in draws or losses for the travelling big guns; Akinade Onigbinde and his Doma United FC boys will clinch unto top spot, for another match-week.
Having said that, all eyes will be turned to Heartland, and their reinstated Head Coach Christian Obi, when the Nazé Millionaires takes on Niger Tornadoes in a relegation six-pointer, to be played at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, in Kaduna.
Having lost their talisman, and 2023 highest scorer in the NPFL, Robert Mizo to Libyan side, Al-Hilal Tripoli; pundits believe Bayelsa United are primed to endure some torrid time for the rest of the first stanza.
The Promise Keepers are rock bottom of the log, and are away to a weary 3SC of Ibadan, at the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, in Adamasingba; while Enyimba Int'l FC without Head Coach, Finidi George who is away in Doha, on Afcon duties with the Super Eagles, take on yo-yo club, Sporting FC of Lagos, in Aba.
Rivers United are away to Gombe United FC in the 3pm kick-off, to be played at the Pantami Stadium, in Gombe; while fumbling Akwa United have got their work cut out, when hosting Abia Warriors of Umuahia, in Eket.
Elsewhere, Kano Pillars are expected to extend their impressive form at the Sani Abacha Stadium, when they host Plateau United of Jos, in Kofarmata; www.ckdmedia.ng reports.