November, 1 2023.
Remo Stars and Kano Pillars recorded the biggest wins of Day-6 fixtures in the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), decided on Wednesday, but the result of the day certainly belongs to Akwa United, for whom Kufere Ebong got the crucial match winner in the 35th min of their encounter, against Gombe United, that ended 1-0 at the Eket Stadium.
Having drawn blank in their first two home games this season, and with just a point from a possible nine, on their travels, Fatai Osho was no doubt a worried man. But with their first 3 points of the 2023/24 season, the Promise Keepers can well say they have turned a corner, and it will be interesting to see how they build on this victory.
With Enugu Rangers not playing on Wednesday, Remo Stars and Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) knew that the winner of the second South-West derby of the season, in Ikenne-Remo stood a very good chance of mounting the top of the log.
Remarkably, that honour fell to Remo Stars, who eclipsed the Stars from Ibadan 3-0, thanks to goals from Ahmed Akinyele (20th min.), Franck Mawuena (40th min. pen) and Alimi Sikiru in the 64th; meaning the Sky Blues from Ikenne have won both South-West derbies of the campaign so far, having earlier beaten Sporting FC of Lagos 2-1.
After a 4-1 thrashing handed them by Enugu Rangers in Awka on Saturday, veteran Kano Pillars Coach, Abdul Maikaba and his youngsters appeared to have glossed over the loss so quickly, by trouncing Bayelsa United, which is gradually wearing the tag of poor travellers; after conceding thrice without a reply.
Mubarak Sani opened the flood gates at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kofarmata, Kano in the 31st min; veteran captain Rabiu Ali scored in the 50th min. before Abba Adam's 84th min. goal wrapped up the win that condemned the Prosperity Boys from Yenagoa, to another loss on the road.
Heartland FC of Owerri remained winless this season, having lost twice and drawn four games, including Wednesday's stalemate with former champions, Rivers United, at the Dan Ànyiam Stadium. Onyekachi Okafor put the Naze Millionaires in front in the 18th min; before Farouk Mohammed drew Rivers United level with a goal in the 37th min.
Despite scoring the opener, as early as the 1st minute through Jonathan Alukwu, Sporting FC Lagos suffered a 2-1 defeat to Kwara United, in Ilorin.
Ejeh Isiah scored from the penalty spot in first half added time (45+3 min) to make it one-all, before Ifeanyi Egwim completed the turn around with a goal in the 86th min. that broke hearts of fans of the promoted side, from Lagos.
Christopher Nwaeze's 13th min. strike proved to be the difference as ten-man Plateau United edged Katsina United 1-0 in Jos; while Sunshine Stars fought from a
Adejoh Ojenugwa 15th min goal for ten-man Abia Warriors of Umuahia, to snatch an unlikely 2-1 victory in Akure; with Udom Edet Ekerette netting both goals in the (35th min) and from the pen spot in the 90+9 minute.
Meanwhile, the struggles of Enyimba of Aba seems not to be abating anytime soon, as the defending champions are still winless after being held goalless in Kaduna, by Niger Tornadoes of Minna; and this is despite the offer of double winning bonus to the players by the Kanu Nwankwo led management team.
Today, Rangers Int'l could return to the top of the NPFL table if they are able to beat a very good Lobi Stars of Makurdi side, which only lost their unbeaten run in the league, on Saturday when losing 0-1 to Rivers United in Port Harcourt. With victory at the Lafia Township Stadium, Fidelis Ilechukwu and his Flying Antelopes will move up to 13 points, and top of the table, with a point clear of Remo Stars who are at present on 12 points.
www.ckdmedia.ng reports that the last fixture of the mid-week, did not hold, after the management of the NPFL postponed the encounter between Bendel Insurance of Benin and Doma United FC, at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe, to Saturday.