Enyimba International recovered from a 1-2 loss to Warri Wolves on Sunday to beat league leaders, Sunshine Stars 3-1 on Wednesday’s Match day 18 of the Globacom Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) fixtures.
Two goals from Stephen Eze and Nzube Anaezemba in the 35th and 45th minutes gave the six times league leaders a comfortable first half lead before Ezekiel Bassey’s strike, three minutes after break wrapped up the victory at Enyimba Stadium in Aba.
Although, Sunshine coach, Kennedy Boboye made some tactical substitutions early in the second half in an attempt to bring his side back into the contest, it proved ineffective as the Akure Arsenal suffered player deficit when defender, Adebayo Adigun was issued a second yellow card and marching order. However, Sunshine eventually got a consolation goal through Tunde Adeniji’s late penalty.
Despite the defeat Sunshine Stars retained top spot of the NPFL table, albeit on goal difference as the Akure based club have 33 points from 18 matches same as Enyimba and Wikki Tourists.
The Bauchi based Tourists ascended the league log further following a hard-fought 1-1 draw against league champions, Kano Pillars at Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano on Wednesday.
Pillars seemed poised to pick the maximum points from the tie when it deservedly took the lead on the half hour through Hele Hele Isaac. The team squandered an opportunity to double the lead just before half time when Rabiu Ali’s penalty kick hit the post instead of back of the net.
The miss would eventually haunt the Masu Gida as Godwin Obaje pulled Wikki Tourists level in the 47th minutes before forcing the tie to end in stalemate, thus picking a valuable point that takes the team to joint second with Enyimba on the table.
Incidentally, Wikki and Enyimba have the same number of points (33) from the same number of games (18); scored the same number of goals (24), conceded the same number (15) and thus share an identical goals difference (plus 9).
Sunshine Stars, on the other hand, have 33 points from 18 matches but have a superior goals difference compared to Enyimba and Wikki (plus 11), which makes it the current league leader.
Giwa FC, however, moved up to fourth place on the table after a 2-1 win over Nasarawa United. Goals from Ocheme Edoh and Amos Gyang ensured the Jos based club picked the maximum points while Ugochukwu Leonard scored a consolation goal for Nasarawa.
Heartland FC suffered late heartbreak to drop one place to fifth after a 1-1 draw with El-Kanemi Warriors in Katsina. John Ibeh’s 34th minute strike seemed to have secured the points for the Naze Millionaires but Eboh Daudu popped up in stoppage time to secure a point for the hosts.
The surprise results of the Match day 18 emerged from Nnewi where FC Ifeanyi Ubah suffered a 1-2 home loss to Kwara United. Okereke Maduabuchi scored first for the hosts in the eight minute but the visitors fought back and claimed a deserved win with goals from Bobga Sambo and Ismaila Gata.
Sharks FC’s, resurgence continued on Wednesday with a 2-0 victory against Abia Warriors at the Sharks FC Stadium, Port Harcourt. Christian Pyagbara and Yusuf Jaiyeola scored in the 15 and 45 minutes respectively to hand the Blue Angels its second straight victory and climb up the league table.
Dolphins also won, 1-0 against Shooting Stars, at the Port Harcourt Liberation Stadium. Chinwendu Ali’s solitary strike from the penalty spot in the 47th minute was all that the Port Harcourt based club needed to grab the maximum points at the expense of impressive Ibadan side.
Tony Okpotu also scored the only goal as Lobi Stars beat Akwa United 1-0 to avoid been dragged into the relegation dog fight. Enugu Rangers claimed a hard-fought point at Bayelsa United to continue the ascent on the log.
So far, the nine NPFL week 18 matches produced one away win, one scoreless draw, two score draws and 18 goals.
The remaining Glo NPFL Week 18 fixture, FC Taraba vs Warri Wolves will take place at Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi on July 16, 2015 by 4pm.
El-Kanemi Warriors 1-1 Heartland
Kano Pillars 1-1 Wikki Tourists
Dolphins 1-0 Shooting Stars
Giwa FC 2-1 Nasarawa United
FC Ifeanyiubah 1-2 Kwara United
Sharks 2-0 Abia Warriors
Enyimba 3-1 Sunshine Stars
Bayelsa United 0-0 Rangers
Lobi Stars 1-0 Akwa United.
By Olisemeka Obeche