Matchday 1 & 2 2018 NPFL Review

Welcome to 2018 and it is not too late to say “Happy New Year!!!”

Did you miss the Nigeria Professional Football League? I did. Starved of the unique flavour of the NPFL, we have had to make do with the national teams and other leagues across the globe. While we were away, the following happened: the Sand Eagles didn’t win Copa Lagos, the LMC released the fixtures for the new season, there was the Super Six which was called “NPFLInvitational” and Asisat Oshoala won one of the CAF Awards.

The NPFL returned with a bang last weekend and have even gone ahead with a second set of matches. Gombe United, Remo Stars, Shooting Stars and ABS Ilorin FC were relegated in the 2016/17 season. They were replaced by Kwara United, Yobe Desert Stars, Heartland FC and NNL Champions Go-Round FC. Top flight football returns to Owerri and makes a debut in Damaturu and Omoku.

The season started on fire on Matchday 1 with 2 away wins registered across the 10 centres. Defending champions, Plateau United proved they could do it again with a 1-0 away victory over Nasarawa United. Raphael Ayagwa grabbed the winner three minutes from regulation time. Virtually every pundit in the land have written off the Kennedy Boboye side but they have taken it one step further by winning their all of their two games so far this season.

Kwara United were shocked at home by visiting Niger Tornadoes after a 2-0 home loss. Will they follow their brothers ABS FC back to the NNL? Enyimba held Lobi Stars to a 1-1 draw in Makurdi while Heartland and Sunshine played out the only goalless game of Matchday 1.

The star matches for Matchday lived up to expectations. It was a tale of Destiny in Katsina as the home side needed added time goals in each of the halves to secure a point against Kano Pillars. Junior Lokosa got the first goal of the season in the 33rd minute but Destiny Ashadi’s freekick was converted by Chinedu Ajana in added time of the first half.

Alassan Ibrahim put the visitors ahead again but they were reduced to 10 men after Victor Dennis was sent off. The pressure was on Kano Pillars and they conceded a penalty kick in the 61st minute. Muhammad Hussaini missed the kick but hey got another chance in added time. Destiny stepped up and equalized for the home team.

In the other star match, Akwa United saw off Rangers FC 2-0 in Uyo with Kelly Kester scoring on his league debut for United. Dennis Nya got the second for the home side.

Matchday 2 came thick and fast on Wednesday. The biggest match ended goalless – Ebele Obi was in fine form for Heartland as they held Enyimba in Calabar. Can he be considered for the Super Eagles? He was Heartland player of last season.

In other results, there were home wins for across with Lobi Stars recording the only away win of the day in a 2-1 win over Rangers FC. The 2016 Champions are currently 18th on the log with no win so far.

Godwin obaje may not be in Morocco for the ongoing CHAN 2018 but he has registered a goal in each of the match days alongside Junior Lokosa and Alassan Ibrahim of Kano Pillars. The race is on.

Looking at the league table, Niger Tornadoes are top of the table with Plateau United only 2nd best due to goals scored. It is too early to look at the table but that was how Plateau United started last season.

There is another Oriental Derby on Sunday in Owerri for Matchday 3. We all love the Oriental derbies. Don’t you? See full result below:

MD1 Results

  • Katsina United 2-2 Kano Pillars
  • FC IfeanyiUbah 2-1 Yobe Desert Stars
  • Wikki Tourists 1-0 Go Round FC
  • Akwa United FC 2-0 Rangers Intl. FC
  • Lobi Stars 1-1 Enyimba FC
  • Heartland FC 0-0 Sunshine Stars
  • Kwara United 0-2 Niger Tornadoes
  • Nasarawa United 0-1 Plateau United
  • Rivers United FC 1-0 El-Kanemi Warriors
  • Abia Warriors 2-0 MFM FC

MD2 Results

  • Niger Tornadoes 2-1 FC IfeanyiUbah
  • Yobe Desert Stars 2-0 Wikki Tourist
  • Go Round FC 1-0 Akwa United FC
  • Rangers Intl. FC 1-2 Lobi Stars
  • Enyimba FC 0-0 Heartland FC
  • Sunshine Stars 2-1 Katsina United
  • Kano Pillars  2-0 Nasarawa United
  • Plateau United 2-0 Rivers United FC
  • El-Kanemi Warriors 1-0 Abia Warriors
  • MFM FC 1-0 Kwara United

In other news, Sunday Faleye helped the Super Eagles to a 1-0 victory over Libya. They would face Equatorial Guinea on Tuesday.



Photo-credit: LMC Media

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