Friday, February 17, 2012

NPL Week 9 wrap

Enugu Rangers emerged as the new leaders of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) after Gombe United slipped to a third straight defeat of the season.

Champions, Dolphins did not take part in this matchday, as they have head to Malabo to face Sony Ela Nguema in the first leg of the Caf Champions League playoff.

Enugu Rangers 1 – 0 Enyimba
Okey Emordi’s men left it really late to inflict a third defeat on former African champions, Enyimba in this southeast derby. Chikeluba Ofoedu scored the winner on 87 minutes to secure the points for the Flying Antelopes and ensure that they go top of the NPL standings, as Austin Eguavoen suffered his first loss since becoming the head coach of the Aba-based club.

Lobi Stars 3 – 0 Ocean Boys
After failing to secure a move to Ukrainian club, Tavriya Simfeporol in 2011, former Bayelsa United striker, Jonah Abutu teamed up with Lobi Stars for this season. He opened the score for his team on 20 minutes against Ocean Boys before Henry Akile and David Tyavkase, who joined from Enyimba, put the game beyond the 2006 champions.

Lobi climb out of the bottom four in the standings as the Divine Warriors are now fourth from bottom.

Wikki Tourists 2 – 1 3SC
In spite of Kabiru Alausa and Tope Orelope being restored to the first-team of 3SC by Festus Allen for this game, it was hosts, Wikki Tourists that got in front through Victor Yakubu after just 15 minutes. Eight minutes into the restart, Abubakar Umar doubled the lead before former Crown FC man, Morenikeji Akanbi pulled one back for Allen’s men nine minutes later.

The loss has left Allen under huge pressure, as his team are just two points above the drop zone.

Sunshine Stars 3 – 2 Sharks
It was a five-goal thriller between last season’s runners-up, Sunshine Stars and Sharks at the Dipo Dina Stadium on Wednesday. Ofem Inah, who celebrated his birthday just a day before this game, gave himself a superb gift by hitting home a direct free-kick to hand the Akure Gunners the lead. Just after the break Osas Idehen made it two but Bright Ejike immediately handed Sharks a lifeline.

Former Crown FC man, Harrison Egbune struck a spectacular free-kick past goalkeeper Gideon Gambo to restore Sunshine Stars’ two-goal lead but substitute, Mani Usman scored a late second goal that was not enough for Sharks to claim a point.

The win ensures that Gbenga Ogunbote’s men climb into the top half of the table while the Blue Angels remain in the lower half.

Akwa United 2 – 0 Niger Tornadoes
The Promise Keepers continue with their modest start to the season at the UJ Esuene Stadium defeating Niger Tornadoes by two-nil. Goals in each half from Ottobong Effiong and Babalo Haruna earned the Uyo-based club their third win of the season, as their points hit double figures – 12. Tornadoes drop out of the top 10 in the log.

Warri Wolves 0 – 0 Kano Pillars
In spite of the absence of their key defender, Papa Idris, Kano Pillars ground out a goalless draw at the Warri City Stadium against all odds. The draw for Wolves only pushes them one place upwards into fourth position while Pillars are still in the bottom half of the standings with eight points from six games, as they have outstanding matches against Heartland and Enyimba.

Jigawa Golden Stars 0 – 0 Rising Stars
Akure-based club, Rising Stars confirmed their toga as the draw specialists so far this season, as they notched up their fifth draw at the Hadejia Township Stadium against fellow newly-promoted side, Jigawa Golden Stars. Rising Stars have surprisingly lost just once this term from eight games and have 11 points while Jigawa Stars are in the bottom four with seven points from eight games.

Gombe United 0-2 Kwara United
The impressive run of Gombe United at home this term was surprisingly punctured by Tunde Sanni's men on Thursday at the Pantami Stadium. Two second half goals including a late strike from Segun Alebiosu was enough to earn the Afonja Warriors all points and ensure that they climb from sixth position to third. Gombe United drop out of the top two for the first time this season.

Heartland 1-0 Kaduna United
Cup holders, Heartland held on to a 26th minute goal by former Dolphins and Ocean Boys' man, Chigozie Christopher. Heartland climb to 13th place from 17th in the standings as Kaduna United are just a point above the drop zone.

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