Globacom Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Match Day 16 produced five home wins and five draws with 17 goals and minor adjustments at the league table.
At the end of hostilities across 10 match venues, Sunshine Stars managed to retain top spot on the league table after a hard-fought 1-1 draw against visiting Lobi Stars. Tunde Adeniji’s 64th minute strike had put the Akure Arsenals on the cusp of another home victory until Obioma Arinze profited from an Anthony Okpotu goal-bound effort to poke home the equaliser in the 70th minute, leaving Sunshine with 30 points from 16 matches.
Enyimba FC also squandered the opportunity of overtaking Sunshine Stars atop the table when Michael Olaha’s 80th minute goal denied the six-time league champions its first victory against Abia Warriors in the explosive derby.
The People’s Elephants thought the maximum points was heading its way when Daniel Etor struck early in the second half to give Enyimba the lead after Christian Obiozor’s half time tap-in cancelled out Abia Warriors’ 27th minute lead courtesy of Ndifreke Effiong.
A win would have seen Enyimba move to top spot but the draw kept its total tally at 30 points, same as Sunshine but with lesser goal difference. Abia Warriors, which had enjoyed upper hand in the Abia derby, however, moved two places up to eighth position following their draw against Enyimba in Aba.
Wikki Tourists also retained third position in the standings after a 1-1 draw against Dolphins in Port Harcourt. Mubarak Umar’s strike before the hour mark gave the Bauchi side the lead before Victor Ezurike levelled from the penalty spot to earn Dolphins a point at the death.
Giwa FC managed to claw-back from a goal deficit to beat Heartland 2-1 to retain fourth spot on the league table. The Naze Millionaires took the lead through the league’s top scorer, Bright Ejike (who has now scored nine goals this season), but Giwa FC fought back to seal the win following goals from Ibrahim Shuaibu and Gyang Amos on either side of the break.
Champions Kano Pillars overcame its recent poor form to beat El Kanemi Warriors 1-0 at Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano. Adamu Mohammed’s 24th minute goal handed the league champions the maximum points and a reprieve for Coach Okey Emordi. Pillars occupies seventh on the standings with 25 points from 16 matches, a position many fans of the Masu Gida are not happy with.
Enugu Rangers’ undefeated streak under coach Imama Amapakabo came to an end last Sunday following a 2-0 defeat by Akwa United inside the iconic Akwa Ibom International Stadium, Nest of Champions, Uyo. Nnamso Edo and Nathaniel Kingsley scored in each half for United to end Rangers’ momentum and facilitate the Uyo side’s continued ascent on the log.
Bottom placed Sharks FC’s woes continued as the struggling team were forced to a 0-0 draw with Nasarawa United at Sharks Stadium, Port Harcourt. The embattled Blue Angels are still searching for a second league win of the season. FC Taraba are still one place from the bottom of the standings after a 0-0 draw with Kwara United at home, while Ifeanyi Ubah FC put their recent problems behind them to defeat Shooting Stars 1-0 in Nnewi.
Glo NPFL Match Day 16 Results
Enyimba 2-2 Abia Warriors
Bayelsa United 2-0 Warri Wolves
Giwa FC 2-1 Heartland
Kano Pillars 1-0 El-Kanemi Warriors
Akwa United 2-0 Rangers
Ifeanyi Ubah FC 1-0 Shooting Stars
Dolphins 1-1 Wikki Tourists
Sharks 0-0 Nasarawa United
Lobi Stars 1-1 Sunshine Stars
FC Taraba 0-0 Kwara United.
By Olisemeka Obeche