NPFL 2018 Matchday 8 Reviews
It was a Matchday of 1-0 home wins with six of the eight wins so far had the same 1-0 scoreline. The biggest news came from Akure where Kano Pillars continued their impressive form by holding Sunshine Stars to a 0-0 draw. The draw meant Kano Pillars are just a point away from table toppers Akwa United who have a game in hand against MFM FC on Friday.
Recall that Sunshine Stars featured just 11 players in their 5-0 loss to defending champions Plateau United on MD7, but the Akure landlords were given a waiver by the LMC to feature some of their new players. The waiver couldn’t waive a victory in their direction. It rather resulted in pictures of an injured match official after the game. Reports from Akure indicate that the injury was caused by a “Water Object” thrown at the match official.
Away from the troubles of Akure, Heartland were no match for FC IfeanyiUbah in the Oriental Derby at the FC IfeanyiUbah Stadium, Nnewi. Ekene Awazie and Seka Pascal assisted and scored the two goals as the home side won 2-0. In Omoku, Go Round FC pipped Abia Warriors 1-0 with Okon Otop scoring the only goal in the 3rd minute to record their 3rd win of the season.
Yobe Desert Stars continue to make Damaturu a fortress to fear with their fourth win of the season. They conceded just one goal at home in the NNL last season and won all their home matches. Philip Asuquo’s 80th minute penalty was all they needed in their 1-0 win over visiting Rivers United. They are one of six NPFL yet to concede at home this season. They are currently 7th on the table with the same amount of points (13) with Enyimba FC, Rangers FC and Lobi Stars. Can you believe it?
In Ilorin, Kwara United defeated Katsina United 2-1 to move away from the bottom of the NPFL table. Godwin Emeka scored after 49 minutes before Stephen Alfred scored his third of the season to double the lead. Martins Usule reduced the deficit in the 84th minute but Kwara United held on to the victory.
There were also 1-0 wins for Wikki Tourists over Lobi Stars and Niger Tornadoes over Nasarawa United. Abubuakar Umar scored in the 82nd minute for Wikki Tourists while Segun Alebiosu’s 11th minute goal was enough for Niger Tornadoes. In Enugu, the Flying Antelopes left it late as Rangers defeated El-Kanemi Warriors 1-0 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium. Kelvin Itoya scored in the 82nd minute.
The Valentine match in Calabar ended in favour of the most successful club in Nigeria as Stanley Dimgba’s 11th minute penalty was enough for Enyimba in their 1-0 win over defending champions Plateau United. The visitors finished with 10 men after Salomon Junior was sent off in the 93rd minute for an elbow on Ifeanyi Anaemena.
On the continent, three Nigerian teams were in action over the weekend. Plateau United defeated Eding Sport of Cameroon 3-0 to mark a memorable CAF Champions League debut. MFM FC held AS Real Bamako to a 1-1 draw in Mali in the preliminary round of the CAF Champions League. In the CAF Confederation Cup, Akwa United lost 2-1 at home to Hawks FC of Gambia. The Promise keepers will need to do more to turn the tide around in Gambia.
ICYMI: Nigeria lost 4-0 to Morocco in the CHAN 2018 Final to finish as runners-up.
Matchday 8 Results
FC IfeanyiUbah 2-0 Heartland
Kwara United 2-1 Katsina United
Yobe Desert Stars 1-0 Rivers United United
Go Round FC 1-0 Abia Warriors
Rangers FC 1-0 El-Kanemi Warriors
Sunshine Stars 0-0 Kano Pillars
Wikki Tourists 1-0 Lobi Stars
Niger Tornadoes 1-0 Nasarawa United
Enyimba FC 1-0 Plateau United
MFM FC vs Akwa United (postponed to 16/02/2018)
Stats: Opta Nigeria
Photo-credit: LMC Media
Post first appeared as “One Zero to the Home Sides and as Pillars hold Sunshine in Akure” on kiniscore.com