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NPFL 2023/24 Update: Harvest of Braces as 3SC Shoots down Doma United FC To Go Joint Top

October, 29 2023.

There were at least four (4) sets of braces scored in the six fixtures of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) Day-5 matches decided yesterday, with the one netted at the Adamasingba Stadium in Ibadan, the most eye-catching double, as it propelled Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) to a thrill 3-1 thrashing of Doma United FC of Gombe.

In fact, it was Doma United who struck first through Nelson Abiam as early as the 8th minute, but a goal on either side of half time by Adelowo Gbolagade (44th min. penalty and 6tth min.) drew Coach Gbenga Ogunbote's side level, and eventually in front, before Gideon Monday applied the gloss 3 minutes into stoppage time as 3SC won convincingly to go joint top with Enugu Rangers on 10 points, from five games played.

Alex Oyowah extended his fine scoring form this season, by netting the only goal in the 42nd min. as Rivers United edged Niger Tornadoes of Minna 1-0, in a tense face-off at the Adokieye Amasiamaka Stadium, buy the Port Harcourt- based Pride of Rivers are still entangled in mid-table, with a game in hand.

There were two sets of braces recorded at the Mohammed Dikko Stadium, by Michael Olalusi (21st and 46+6 mins); but Sunshine Stars still ended on the losing side after Katsina United fought back to win the tie 3-2, with goals from Michael Okoro Ibe just before the break, and a double from Bello Lukman (50th and 65th mins.

Meanwhile, Bayelsa United won their first game since there sensational opening 5-3 thrashing of Akwa United on Day-1, by edging Kwara United 2-1 in the creeks of Yenagoa; again the victory was thanks to a brace from the prolific Robert Mizo who got his goals in the first half (11th and 33rd mins), while Samuel Ayanride got the lone goal for the visitors in the 19th min.

Another team to win by a lone goal, was Abia Warriors for whom Meme Okike scored what eventually turned out to be the match winner, against visiting Heartland FC of Owerri in an Oriental derby, played in Umuahia.

In Sunday's show stopping fixture, Jonathan Alukwu (28th) and Junior Lokossa (45th min), got the goals as Sporting FC of Lagos edged Niger Tornadoes of Minna 2-1, at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Onikan Lagos.

With two first half goals, the promoted side were flying, but Bala Yahuza halved the deficit in the 68th min. as Sporting Lagos who were beaten for the first time this term, by Remo Stars in Ikenne-Remo, last Sunday held-on to pocket all 3 points on offer.

In the pick of games decided on Saturday, Kano Pillars struck the opener in the 11th minute, through Mohammed Yakubu; but the lead lasted only for 13 minutes, as veteran striker Godwin Obaje drew the Flying Antelopes level in the 24th minute, from the penalty spot; before Isaac Savior made it 2-1 in favour of Rangers at the Awka Township Stadium.

Captain of the side, Chukwudi Nwaodu then wrapped up the proceedings with a quick-fire brace, in the 56th and 62nd minute; as Rangers won 4-1 to move to the top of the 2023/24 NPFL table for the first time, with 10 points.

In the other Day-5 fixtures decided on Saturday; Gombe United moved up to 3rd on 9 points, after Sadiq Shuaibu converted a contentious penalty in the 5th minute of stoppage time, at the Pantami Stadium, and both sides eventually got reduced to 10 men each, after late cards were dished to either side.

Elsewhere, in Benin City, Bendel Insurance and visiting Akwa United ended their South-South derby goalless, a result that obviously does not do either team much good.

Coach Fatai Osho and his Promise Keepers are yet to win a match this season, having previously drawn twice at home and lost both games on the road. On the back of this they have been given marching orders by the club's management to sit-up or get shipped-out.

On the other hand, Bendel Insurance were knocked off the summit of the log, after a 0-1 loss at Gombe United last weekend, and had fancied their chances against a struggling Akwa United.

Remo Stars of Ikenne, who are at present on 9 points, will have the chance to move to the summit, should they win their indefinitely postponed encounter in Aba, against Enyimba Int'l FC of Aba; who along with Heartland FC, and Akwa United are tied on 3 points and languishing at the last three positions on the NPFL log, that's 18th, 19th and 20th.

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