Matchday 13 and Rescheduled Matchday 10 review; Continental Bits

There were only six matches played on Matchday 13 in the Nigeria Professional Football League, thanks to the continental engagements of Plateau United, MFM FC, Akwa United and Enyimba FC.

Excluding the excitement from the continental matches, Lafia was the place to be on Sunday where Nasarawa United came from behind to defeat table toppers Lobi Stars 2-1. Austine Ogunye had put Lobi Stars in front from the penalty spot in the 5th minute before Ikechukwu Nwani inspired a comeback before half time. He supplied Nojeem Olukokun with the equalizer in the 20th minute before getting the winner 12 minutes later.

Samson Obi was the man of the moment for Abia Warriors in their 2-0 win over Wikki Tourists. The home side returned to their base in Umuahia after a brief stay at Omoku. Ndifreke Effiong missed a 6th minute penalty – his 2nd for the season – before Samson Obi grabbed a second half brace, both assisted by Emeka Isaac.

There were 1-0 wins for Katsina United and El-Kanemi Warriors over oriental brothers Heartland and FC IfeanyiUbah respectively. The two oriental brothers now occupy the relegation zone in 18th and 19th, only better than Kwara United at the bottom.

Sunshine Stars were 2-1 winners over Yobe Desert Stars in Akure. The victory came the hard way for the home side. Babatunde Solomon had put 4th placed Yobe Desert Stars ahead but Bala Yahuza equalized for Sunshine Stars in the 29th minute after Dayo Ojo was brought down in the box. Sikiru Alimi’s 61st minute header proved to be the winner in the battle of the stars.

The shocking result of the week came from Kano. First Plateau United could not score more than a goal against Etoil du Sahel in the Champions League and were eliminated 4-3 on aggregate after a 1-0 win. The next day, Kano Pillars needed an 81st minute penalty to prevent a home loss to Niger Tornadoes in the NPFL. Junior Lokosa converted from the spot for his 11th league goal of the season after Andrew Ifeke stunned the home side in the 19th minute.

In the other Champions League game, MFM FC suffered a 6-0 whitewash by MC Alger in Algeria and were eliminated 7-2 on aggregate. It was the heaviest loss by a Nigerian team in the competition. Enyimba defeated Energie of Benin 3-2 in Calabar to secure a 5-2 aggregate win in the Confederation Cup. Ikechukwu Ezenwa returned from injury to make his debut for the two times African champions.

In Uyo, Akwa United needed penalties to see off Al-Ittihad of Libya in the Confederation Cup. The Promise Keepers could only secure a 1-0 win but progressed to the playoff round after a 3-2 penalty win.

Four Nigerian teams will feature in the playoff round of the CAF Confederation Cup for the first time. Enyimba have been drawn against Bidwest, Plateau United play USM Alger, MFM FC play Djoliba of Mali while Akwa United have Sudan’s Al-Hilal as the final hurdle to the group stage.

There were two rescheduled Matchday 10 matches. Akwa United struggled to defeat Heartland 2-1 on Wednesday while Go Round pipped defending Champions Plateau United 1-0 to record their 5th win of the season.

Matchday 14 is next.


Photo-credit: LMC Media

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