November, 20 2023.
.. Again Heartland Concede Late to Stay Winless & Bottom
Akwa United of Uyo, and Enyimba of Aba will rank as the big winners of Day-9 of the 2023/24 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL); but surely the weekend characterized by so many late goals and drama, belongs to Doma United FC of Gombe, the new log leaders!
On Saturday, Doma United defeated Plateau United 1-0 at the Pantami Stadium, to move from 4th to second; while Bendel Insurance had to fight back twice to earn a 2-all draw with Kabiru Dogo led Kwara United of Ilorin, at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, in Benin.
Then came Sunday, when Fatai Osho led his charges at Akwa United to inflict a 3-2 defeat against Remo Stars of Ikenne, his former employers.
The Sky-Blues from Ikenne took the lead through Alimi Sikiru in the 15th minute; but Dare Ojo (23rd) and Uche Collins (26th) responded for the Promise Keepers who led 2-1 at the break; and made it 3-1 in the 62nd minute, through Sadiq Rilwanu.
Similarly, defending champions Enyimba Int'l, which has been low in confidence all-season, found a winning goal, 2 minutes from time by Alalibo Somiari to edge log leaders, Lobi Stars 1-0 in Aba.
That victory, though heartwarming, did not do a lot of good to the People's Elephant, who merely moved one spot from 17th -16th on the log, with two blockbuster games in hand against Remo Stars and Bendel Insurance.
On the other hand, defeat for Lobi Stars saw them relinquish top spot on the log; but only on inferior goals difference to Doma United; and with a better goals difference to 3SC of Ibadan; they reclined to second; while the Oluyole Warriors are 3rd. All three sides are level on 17 points, after nine matches.
At the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, in Adamasingba, Kareem Ademola also got the only goal for Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) against Kano Pillars.
At the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Onikan, Sporting FC scored both goals, in their 1-1 draw with Heartland FC of Owerri, who defied the vociferous Lagos fans, and were at the brink of earning their first win of the campaign.
Chisom Orji had gifted the Naze Millionaires an own goal, which they did well to protect, untill Sporting FC fought back, and drew level in the 9th minute of added time.
Like their Sister-club, Doma United; Gombe United also won 1-0, against Niger Tornadoes of Minna, at the Pantami Stadium, thanks to Abba Umar's 13th minute goal.
And for the first time this season, Rangers International of Enugu, had to settle for a goalless draw in the NPFL.
The Flying Antelopes were the only side that had managed to score in each of their previous eight fixtures; but they failed to score at the Awka Township Stadium; against a well-organized Katsina United FC, which is still led by Coach Tony Bulus; despite talks of him, being asked to step aside.
Ifeanyi Anaemena scored at both ends, in a space of three minutes; as Abia Warriors lost 1-2 to Rivers United, for whom Alex Oyowah got the opener from 12 yards in the 39th minute; at the Adokieye Amasiamaka Stadium, in Port Harcourt.
www.ckdmedia.ng reports that a goal for Bayelsa United from the spot, at the beginning of the second half from Bassey John; and another toward the end of the half by Opeyemi Olufemi of Sunshine Stars of Akure, foisted a 1-1 draw in Yenagoa; and a share of the spoils.