NPFL: Remo Stars go top; Rivers United unbeaten run ended
Enyimba win in Akure, Rangers hold Wikki in Bauchi
The fairy tale run of newly promoted Remo Stars continued on Sunday when they returned to the summit of the 2021/2022 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) table after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Shooting Stars in a feisty South West derby.
It was captain Nduka Junior that led by example for the Sky Blues when he curled home a free kick in the 62nd minute to net, the only goal of the game which kept Remo’s unbeaten start to the season and returned the Gbenga Ogunbote-led side to the top after Rivers United were beaten in Jos.
Stanley Eguma’s Rivers United tasted defeat for the first time this term after in-form Plateau United recorded their third consecutive 1-0 win in the league. Striker Jesse Akila spurned a chance to give the hosts the lead when his 16th minute penalty came off the woodwork but he atoned for his miss with a 33rd minute finish to take Plateau to within one point of Rivers.
Enyimba FC stayed in fourth spot after an impressive 1-0 away win against Sunshine Stars in Ijebu Ode. After a goalless first half, Enyimba got the only goal of the game two minutes after the restart in a bizarre fashion when Sunshine goalkeeper Mustapha Lawal saw his kick charged down and turned into the net by the belly of Enyimba striker Victor Mbaoma. The win makes it third for Enyimba in their last four matches.
Kwara United continued their good home run with a 1-0 win over Lobi Stars but were made to work hard by their visitors in a North Central derby watched by NFF’s Technical Director Augustine Eguavoen. After a goalless hour of football, former Lobi forward Samad Kadiri, who replaced Junior Lokosa in the 66th minute broke the deadlock just five minutes later from close range.
Niger Tornadoes enjoyed a relatively comfortable 2-1 win over Katsina United in Abuja. Playmaker Ahmadu Liman put the Ikon Allah Boys ahead in the 20th minute with a fine finish before Tornadoes doubled their advantage four minutes later through Hashim Shamsudeen. Katsina halved the deficit three minutes before the break through Faisal Sani but that proved a mere consolation in the end as Katsina continued their run of away losses.
Two matches ended scoreless on Sunday. Rangers International, coached by former Wikki Tourists handler Abdu Maikaba continued their unbeaten away sequence this season when they held hosts Wikki to a 0-0 draw at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi while in Lagos, MFM FC ended a run of consecutive losses with a 0-0 draw against champions Akwa United at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Earlier on Saturday, Dakkada FC made good advantage of their return to Uyo with a 1-0 win over Kano Pillars at the Nest of Champions. Striker Musa Bashiru scored the only goal of the game five minutes from time to break Pillars hearts. In Okigwe, Godwin Obaje’s goal of the season was insufficient to see Abia Warriors past Nasarawa United as Shammasu Mohammed struck in the 82nd minute to ensure a share of the spoils for United.
The final game of Match Day 11 comes up on Wednesday at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri where bottom of the table Heartland will entertain Gombe United in what will be new coach Erasmus Onu Olottah’s first game in charge of the Naze Millionaires in his umpteenth missionary journey.