November, 12 2023.
Lobi Stars of Makurdi edged Sporting Lagos FC 1-0 at the Lafia Township Stadium, in one of the eight fixtures decided on Sunday, to cling on to the top spot of the 2023/24 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), thanks to a goal from an unlikely source, Sunday Chukwu in the 29th minute of the closely fought encounter.
Victory for Lobi Stars took their points tally to 17, two clear of Remo Stars, who trounced Gombe United 4-0 in Ikenne-Remo to stay second, with a game in hand.
Alimi Sikiru opened the scoring in the 27th minute, as the Sky-Blues literarily put Gombe United, whose last trip to the South West also ended in a rout to the sword; 0-3 they were thrashed by 3SC of Ibadan on Day-6.
Meanwhile, a late goal by Mohammed Alao ensued that Kwara United denied ten-man 3SC what would have been the fourth road win in the NPFL, this season.
The Oluyole Warriors were first to score through captain Malomo Taofik Ayodeji in the 44th min, but he was also sent-off within 60 seconds of the opener, against the Afonja Warriors, as the duel ended 1-1 at the Ilorin Sports Complex.
Nonetheless, Shooting Stars stayed 4th, on 14 points, same as Enugu Rangers who are 3rd by virtue of superior goals difference; but needed a goal in stoppage time, from Jonas Emmanuel to force a 2-2 draw against Sunshine Stars, in Akure.
Like all other games this season, Fidelis Ilechukwu tutored Flying Antelopes are the only side to have scored in every match this season, and they were in front as early as the 8th minute, through veteran forward, Godwin Onaje.
All four goals, including an own goal by Ogu Jerry, at the New Jos Stadium were scored in the first half, as Plateau United extended their good run of form by thrashing Abia Warriors 3-1, to climb to fifth in the table.
Four-time champions, Kano Pillars compounded the woes of stuttering Enyimba of Aba, with a 1-0 victory, courtesy a 71 minute winner by Abba Adam. The Sai-Masugida thus moved level on 12 points with Abia Warriors and Bendel Insurance in the log; while the defending champions are 17th with 7 points, and two outstanding games.
Bendel Insurance earned their second straight draw, when holding Niger Tornadoes of Minna goalless at the ABS Stadium in Kaduna; a result that left the Ikon Allah Boys, one spot above the drop zone, with with 8 points, after eight games.
The struggles of Rivers United this season, also continued unabated, as Saleh Monsour scored 2 minutes after the break to give promoted Katsina United a deserved victory, at the Mohammadu Dikko Stadium, in the North West.
Day-8 fixtures will be concluded on Wednesday when Bayelsa United host winless Heartland FC of Owerri at the Samson Siasia Stadium, in Yenagoa.
On Saturday, Nelson Abiam scored the match winner as Doma United FC edged Fatai Osho's Akwa United 1-0 at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe; www.ckdmedia.ng reports.
The victory saw the Savannah Tigers climb to 7th temporarily, with 11 points. But following the conclusion of eight more fixtures on Sunday, Doma United reclined to 10th, with a game in hand against Enyimba of Aba; while Akwa United is languishing in 18th spot, with 7 points from 8 games they have played thus far.