NPFL Matchday 12 Reviews: Wikki shock Rivers United at home; Akwa United go top in Group B

The Giant Elephant defeat of the Pride of Rivers and the Promise Keepers leadership of Group B were some of the weekend action in the NPFL

RIVERS UNITED 1-2 WIKKI TOURISTS

Rivers United suffered their first home defeat of the season on Sunday after they were beaten 2-1 by desperate Wikki Tourists who succeeded in getting a double win over the Pride of Rivers.

Saidu Abdullahi and Hassan Musa put the Giant Elephants in the driver’s seat in the 17th and 23rd minutes but the Port Harcourt side threatened a comeback through Ossy Martins who reduced the goals arrears in the 37th minute but the fantastic saves of Wikki goalkeeper, Chinedu Udeh denied them from getting a share of the spoils.

It was the first time this season that Wikki will be securing their first away points and the victory has taken Aliyu Zubairu’s men to fifth in the NPFL Group A with 15 points but Stanley Eguma’s Rivers United hit the lowest point of their campaign thus far and have now fallen to the ninth in the league spot with 13 points from 11 matches.

 

ENUGU RANGERS 5-2 REMO STARS

Enugu Rangers came back from a goal down to whitewash Remo Stars 5-2 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu on Sunday.

The sky Blue Stars invited trouble upon themselves when Bright Akpojuvwehwo scored the curtain raiser in the seventh minute but they were 4-1 down by the 60th minute after goals from the Flying Antelopes’ Ifeanyi George, Godwin Aguda (2) and Ibrahim Ajani changed the course of result in the 36th, 45th, 49th and 60th minutes.

There were still further dramas before the end of the game after Daniel Ogunmodede’s men reduced the tally through mysterious circumstances when Chidera Ezeh of Enugu Rangers managed to put the ball beyond the reach of his goalkeeper, Nana Bonsu in the 83rd minute but Gbenga Ogunbote’s men showed they were not moved by the howler from Ezeh when Michael Uchebo netted the fifth goal through a classical move which he finished up all by himself.

Rangers have jumped to the third position in the NPFL Group A with 15 points from six games while Remo Stars are still in the drop zone with 11 points from 11 games. They are in the 11th spot.

    

KWARA UNITED 1-0 KATSINA UNITED

Kwara United made it one win apiece between them and Katsina United after they turned the heat on their visitors with a 1-0 home win at the Kwara State Sports Complex, Ilorin.

Segun Alebiosu’s 35th-minute strike handed the Harmony Warriors precious three points. The win has taken their points tally to 15 in the NPFL Group A and they are in the sixth spot while Katsina United who were held to a 1-1 draw by MFM last Wednesday in Katsina have slid to the seventh spot with 14 points from 11 games.

 

ENYIMBA 2-1 SUNSHINE STARS

Enyimba have stretched their unbeaten run to six games after they pipped Sunshine Stars 2-1 at the Enyimba International Stadium, Aba.

The People’s Elephant raced into the lead in the 29th minute through Dare Olatunji whose 25-yard volley beat the Owena Whales goalkeeper, Ayo Ojo and they increased the lead in the 70th minute through a disputable penalty kick in the 70th minute. Sunshine Stars netted in the 75th minute to threaten a late rally but Usman Abd’Allah’s men held on to claim the three points.

The win ensured that Enyimba retained their place in the second spot with 19 points from 12 games while Sunshine Stars plummeted to the eighth spot with 13 points from 11 games.

 

BENDEL INSURANCE 1-0 MFM

Bendel Insurance got their second home win of the season after they laboured to a 1-0 win over MFM at the UNIBEN Sports Complex, Benin on Saturday.

Insurance got their solitary goal through Kingsley Onovo in the 16th minute of the encounter and it was all that they needed to seal their first win since they beat Lobi Stars last month. The win could not lift them out of the relegation zone as they are still 10th in the NPFL Group A table with 12 points from 11 games.

The Olukoya Boys have had their six matches unbeaten run ended after the close defeat to the Edo Arsenal in Benin, Fidelis Ilechukwu’s men have won five and drew one from the last games they played before visiting Monday Odigie inspired Bendel Insurance. They are still in the first spot in the league table with 22 points from 12 games. They have three points cushion ahead of the second-placed Enyimba who visit them next in Lagos this weekend.

  

GO ROUND 1-0 YOBE DESERT STARS

It was a late goal that was converted by Adeseun Adelani in the 97th minute that rescued GO Round from the claws of Yobe Desert Stars at the Krisdera Hotel Stadium, Omoku on Sunday in a top-flight tie.

Yobe Stars capitalized on the hot weather to beat GO Round in the first leg of the fixture played at the August 27th Stadium, Damaturu more than a week ago but Adelani scored the match-winner at a time the visitors thought they had done enough to walk away with a point. It was GO Round’s third home win of the season from the six games played before their fans but they have been superb in their away matches where they have two wins from six matches also.

They have strolled to the fourth spot in the NPFL Group B with 18 points from 12 matches while Yobe Desert Stars who announced the sack of their coach, Ngozi Elechi shortly after the game are in the last position with 10 points from 12 games.

 

PLATEAU UNITED 1-0 ABIA WARRIORS

Plateau United only managed a 1-0 home win over 10 man Abia Warriors through the 10th-minute strike of Mohammed Zukilful in a game played at the New Jos Road Stadium, Jos on Sunday.

The first leg of the fixture ended 1-1 apiece in Umuahia the previous Sunday before the tie but Abia Warriors went into the tie with a morale-boosting 3-1 away win over Yobe Desert Stars on Wednesday in a rescheduled league tie for their second away win of the season. They have not carried over their away form into their home games where they have only managed two wins out of the six games they have played in Umuahia. Henry Makinwa’s men are in the seventh position in the NPFL Group B with 15 points from 12 games.

Plateau United, on the other hand, have moved to the eighth spot with 15 points from 12 games. The 2017 league champions have been very inconsistent in the top-flight in which they were tipped to fight for the league title but as it is presently, they are only battling to avoid a place in the relegation zone in the first season of Abdu Maikaba with them.

    

AKWA UNITED 1-0 HEARTLAND

Akwa United were made to work harder but they still got the desired three points against Heartland at the Nest of Champions Stadium, Uyo on Sunday.

The Promise Keepers beat the same opposition 2-1 at the Okigwe Township Stadium but they didn’t have so easy securing the second win in seven days. Rafael Everton’s men found the match-winner only after Mfon Udoh was injured and had to be replaced by Cyril Olisema who netted from the spot in the 64th minute after an infringement in the Naze Millionaires’ vital area.

The vital home victory has catapulted Akwa United to the top of the league table in Group B for the first time this season with 22 points from 12 games while Heartland who gave a brave fight in Uyo but ended up on the losing side are in the ninth position with 14 points from 12 games. They are yet to win any game in their last six matches. They will slip to deeper to the relegation zone which they presently occupy if they fail to beat Kano Pillars in Okigwe on Sunday.

 

GOMBE UNITED 0-1 EL KANEMI WARRIORS

Gombe United were dealt a fatal blow in their resolve to leave the relegation zone after they suffered a late home defeat to El Kanemi Warriors at the Pantami Stadium, Gombe on Sunday.

The Savannah Scorpions were expected to nick their third home win of the season against the Borno Army who they had held to a goalless draw in Maiduguri in the first leg of the tie the previous Sunday but they were beaten through a wicked counterattack at the dot of the regulation time when they went out in search of the winning goal at the death. Isiaka Olawale benefitted from the melee to score the crucial lone goal for El Kanemi Warriors’ second away win of the season.

El Kanemi Warriors with Mohammed Babaganaru in charge were not expected to be among the top five at the end of the season but they could go three points clear at the end of the next round of fixtures this weekend when they face Akwa United who are currently at the top of the NPFL Group B on goals difference. The Borno Army are in the second spot with 22 points from 12 games which is the same number of points amassed by the Promise Keepers.

Gombe United have compounded their woes after their second home loss of the season and it will take more than a miracle for Ladan Bosso to stop them from an instant return to the lower league. They are placed 11th in the league table with 11 points from 12 games.