The season-ending Nigeria National League (NNL) playoffs got underway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium in Enugu on Tuesday afternoon.
Gombe United and Elkanemi Warriors both slugged it out in the opener of the tournament organized to determine the sides that will be gaining promotion into the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) for the 2021/22 season.
Former Plateau United striker Ibrahim Mustapha put the Warriors ahead from the penalty spot in the 32nd minute before Ibrahim Yahaya restored parity for United in the 73rd minute as both sides settled for a share of the spoils.
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The much anticipated clash between traditional sides, Shooting Stars and Bendel Insurance followed immediately afterwards. It was the Benin Arsenals who took an early lead from the spot through Daniel Johnson after opposition goalkeeper Dare Dede had brought down Ojo Tolulope in the area.
Moments later, 3SC dragged themselves back on level terms through Malomo Ayodeji’s exquisite finish in the area in the 25th minute. With the game finely balanced and headed for a draw, Nafiu Ibrahim popped up with the winner in the 83rd minute to hand the Oluyole Warriors a winning start.
In the other Group A game, less fancied DMD held Niger Tornadoes to a goalless draw, while Remo Stars thumped Ekiti United 3-0, courtesy goals from Agbeko Morgan, Akanni Qudus and Adedayo Olamilekan to go top of Group B.
By Areo Samuel (@undisputed_jsam) in Enugu
Photo Credit: Sport Retina