Sunshine Stars Football Club maintained its lead at the top of Globacom Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) with a 2-1 home victory against FC Taraba on match day 19 on July 19, 2015.
Tunde Adeniji’s brace in the 44th and 52nd minutes of the match cancelled out Stephen Adams’s 12th minute strike that gave the visitors early lead and scare at the Akure Township Stadium. The narrow victory ensured the Akure Arsenal finished the first half of the league ahead of other 19 clubs with 36 points and plus 12 goals difference.
Enyimba International also finished with same 36 points but with plus 10 goals difference, following its 2-1 victory against Rangers International in the Oriental derby at Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu on Sunday. The classic clash of titans looked destined to end in draw after a scoreless first half until Rangers’ defender, Orji Kalu handled the ball in the box and Christian Obiozor fired home his sixth goal of the season from the spot in the 58th minute.
Godwin Aguda would later equalise from the spot for Rangers in the 81st minute following a foul on Matthew Etim by Emmanuel Anyanwu inside the box. However, Andrew Abalogu headed home Ezekiel Bassey’s fine cross to restore Enyimba’s lead in the 86th minute with the team holding on to secure the six times league champions its first win in Enugu since 2007.
Heartland FC of Owerri recorded the most comprehensive victory with 4-0 white-washing of Wikki Tourists at the Rojenny Stadium in Oba. An early minutes brace from attacking midfielder Julius Ubido (5th and 7th minutes respectively) set the Naze Millionaires on the cusp of massive goal feast with the duo of Bright Ejike and Emeka Ogbugh, completing the routing in the 57th and 83rd minutes for a memorable victory against the Bauchi side. “I’m quite happy with our biggest home victory in the first stanza of the ongoing season against no mean side, Wikki Tourists,” declared Heartland coach, Bethel Orji in his post match comment. The win against Wikki Tourists ensured Heartland finished the first stanza with 32 points from a possible 57, earning it a fourth position on the log.
Kwara United also posted five-star performance with a 3-1 victory against hard- fighting Giwa FC at Kwara State Stadium, llorin.
Goals from Gita Ismail, Abubakar Yusuf and Halilu Obadaki handed the ‘the Harmony Boys’ the maximum points while Adamu Musa scored Giwa FC’s consolation goal while the Jos club’s top scorer, Shuaibu Ibrahim recieved a straight red in the encounter. The hard fought victory has taken the llorin outfit points haul to 22 from a possible 57.
Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) also beat El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri 2-1 with goals from Ajani Ibrahim and Moses James, 66th and 74th minutes rendering Ibrahim Mustapha’s 62nd minutes strike for El-Kanemi of no effect. The victory ensured the Oluyole Warriors finished the first half with 26 points, 10 points less than league leaders and in the 11th position on the table.
Warri Wolves recorded a 2-1 victory against Sharks FC of Port Harcourt. Goals from Alimi and Abu in the 6th and 59th minutes proved enough to hand the Warri club maximum points albeit Christian Pyagbara’s 80th minutes consolation goal for Sharks.
Full Results of NPFL Match Day 19
Heartland FC 4-0 Wikki Tourists
Kwara United 3-1 Giwa FC
Warri Wolves 2-1 Sharks FC
Shooting Stars 2-1 El-Kanemi Warriors
Rangers Int’l 1-2 Enyimba Int’l
Abia Warriors 1-0 FC IfeanyiUbah
Sunshine Stars 2-1 FC Taraba
Akwa United 1-0 Bayelsa United
Lobi Stars 3-3 Kano Pillars
Nasarawa United 1-0 Dolphins FC
By Olisemeka Obeche