NPFL 21: Kwara Utd Pip Sunshine Stars in Akure, Heartland Stun MFM In Lagos
Kwara United and Heartland FC of Owerri produced arguably major talking points in Sunday’s matchday 9 matches of the Nigeria Professional Football League.
Heartland FC, travelled to Lagos with a disappointing record of 2 wins from 8 matches and was hoping for a revival. It was also an emotional return for former MFM Coach, Fidelis Ilechukwu who has fond memories with club.
It was the Naze Millionaires that opening scoring as early as seven minutes into the game. Emmanuel Adachi scored from the spot Chijioke Akuneton after a former player of MFM FC, Chijioke Akuneto was brought down in the box.
In the second half, the home side came out of their shell and took the game to the visitors. Their efforts paid off in the 47th minute when Muyiwa Lawal’s header connected a cross from Michael Mbonu.
1-1 and game on!
The visitors responded swiftly to regain the lead. Akuneto’s pass located Jimoh Gbadamosi who unleashed a shot that beat goalkeeper Folarin Abayomi into the back of the net.
Heartland went on to win the game 2-1 and secured their third win of the season and gave MFM FC their first defeat at the Agege Stadium this season.
In Akure, Kwara United restated their commitment to compete this season. The Harmony Boys have an unbeaten at home with a record of 4 wins, 1 loss and 3 draws in 8 matches. The hosts, Sunshine Stars have been decent with 4 wins also and gathering 13 points in 8 matches.
The first half ended goalless. In the second half, Coach Gbenga Ogunbote’s team drew the first blood. Man on fire, Sadeeq Yusuf scored his seventh goal of the season to give the home side the lead in the 49th minute. Yusuf received a pass from Joseph Abe and sent in a one-time shot into the net.
Kwara United wasted no time to get back into the contest. Substitute, Issa Gata beat his marker and produced a fine finish to level the scores.
Four minutes to the 90th-minute mark, the visitors punished the hosts. Stephen Jude with another fine finish to give Kwara United a well-deserved 2-1 victory over Sunshine Stars, second away win of the season and a lift to second position on the league table.
In Uyo, Dakkada FC bounced back after a humiliating 3-0 loss to Rangers on matchday 8 in Enugu. The Chosen Ones beat struggling Abia Warriors 2-1 to get their campaign back on track.
Abia Warriors recorded their first win of the season with a 4-1 thrashing of Sunshine Stars and were hoping to consolidate on that result against Dakkada.
The first half ended goalless with both sides creating unclear chances. At the start of the second half, the home side was awarded a penalty when goalkeeper Ojo Olorunleke brought down Christian Ekong inside the area.
Dakkada FC captain, Aniekan Ekpe scored from the spot for his fourth of the season and gave his team the lead.
Kokoete Udo capitalised on poor defending by the Warriors to double the lead. In the 90th minute, Fatai Abdullahi pulled one back for Abia Warriors when he struck a beautiful free-kick from 20 yards.
The victory is Dakkada’s fourth of the season and takes them to 8th on the while but the struggle continues for coach Imama Amapakabo’s team that has recorded just a win in 9 matches.
Still in Uyo, Akwa United made it three wins in a row, thrashing Katsina United 3-0 at the Nest of Champions.
Captain fantastic, Ndifreke Effiong scored a brace to improve his goal tally to six this season. The first was a calm finish where he used one touch to displace defender and goalkeeper before slotting the ball into an empty.
Charles Atshimene scored his goal of the season and the second for the Promise Keepers in the game. Effiong got his brace and Akwa Utd’s third from the penalty spot after he was brought down in the box by Katsina United’s captain, Usman Barau.
The victory takes Akwa United to fifth on the log with 15 points and condemned Katsina United to their fifth defeat this season, leaving the Changi Boys in 16th position on the log.
Rangers made it back-to-back wins with a slim 1-0 victory over Warri Wolves to keep their fine form going. Christian Nnaji also continued his goalscoring form from matchday 8 where he bagged a brace against Dakkada FC.
Nnaji’s goal in the 17th minute was good enough to give the Flying Antelopes victory, their fifth in nine matches this season. This is the sixth defeat for Warri Wolves this season and their inconsistency is a major concern for the club’s management team.
Jigawa Golden Stars recorded their 4th win of the season with a 1-0 victory over winless Adamawa United while Lobi Stars and Wikki Tourists played a goalles draw to share the spoils in Makurdi.
On Monday, FC Ifeanyi Ubah will take on Kano Pillars in Nnewi while Rivers United will host Nasarawa United at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt. (Channels)