NPFL: Championship playoffs reach gruelling stage

NPFL: Championship playoffs reach gruelling stage

A gruelling round of action awaits when the 2018/19 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Championship Playoffs enter Match Day 3 at the Agege Township Stadium, Lagos on Saturday.

Results have been evenly spread among five of the six teams in the competition with only FC Ifeanyiubah yet to get a point after two round of matches. The Anambra Warriors will be in action in Saturday’s first game against leaders Kano Pillars at 3pm.

While Ifeanyiubah lost their opening two matches (to Lobi Stars and Akwa United), Kano Pillars are unbeaten in their opening two games and have scored two goals in each match. Striker Nyima Nwagua has scored twice in as many games for Pillars and will also be relied on by head coach Ibrahim Musa on Saturday.

FC Ifeanyiubah coach Uche Okagbue however sounded a note of warning to his opponents by insisting they are not out of the equation yet.

“You cannot rule us out from winning the trophy or a continental ticket. We just have been unlucky in the first two games and if we continue playing well, who says we cannot win the remaining three matches. Our remaining opponents will under-estimate us at their own risk,” said the former Rangers player to

Saturday’s second game is poised to be a crunchy tie between Lobi Stars and Enyimba. Both teams have three points apiece after two matches and cancelled themselves out when they faced in Group B of the regular season; battling to stalemates in Aba and Makurdi.

The 5pm kickoff has been termed a winner-takes-all contest and Lobi Stars will be hoping that their prolific attacking duo of Samad Kadiri and Sikiru Alimi – with two goals each in the playoffs – produce the goods once again. Both teams won their opening games but lost their second matches.

Enyimba head coach Usman Abd’Allah expects his side to be serious and calm in the face of the crunchy situation on Saturday.

“They (Lobi) are also in the same situation we are in with Rangers and that is where it’s going to be a big battle because everybody is looking for a win to go on top. So we have to see how the game goes.

“We are going to take it serious. All the players understand the situation that we are in so it’s not going to be a big problem. The only thing is just to calm down and then keep concentration and we keep focus and go back and give the same good performance.”

The evening game will be between Akwa United and Rangers, two teams that won their second games against FC Ifeanyiubah and Lobi Stars respectively. Attacking players Godspower Aniefiok has been the shinning light in the United side having had a hand in two of their four goals while Chiamaka Madu, with a goal and an assist in Rangers’ only two goals is expected to be pivotal for Gbenga Ogunbote’s Flying Antelopes.

Saturday’s fixtures
3PM: Kano Pillars vs FC Ifeanyiubah
5PM: Lobi Stars vs Enyimba
7PM: Akwa United vs Rangers Int’l

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