NPFL: Five-star Rangers go third, Akwa United go top

NPFL: Five-star Rangers go third, Akwa United go top

One week after suffering an ignominious exit from the CAF Confederation Cup, Rangers International produced a five-star display in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) on Sunday to beat Remo Stars 5-2 and climb to third on the Group A table while Akwa United continued their imperious run of form by going top of Group B.

Having laboured to a 1-0 win over Sunshine Stars on Thursday, Gbenga Ogunbote’s Rangers finally got the monkeys off their back with a come from behind win over Kennedy Boboye-led Remo Stars. First half goals from Ifeanyi George and Godwin Aguda overturned Bright Akpojuvwewo’s seventh minute goal for the visitors.

Further goals from Aguda, Ibrahim Ajani and Michael Uchebo in the second half sealed the win which rendered Chidera Ezeh’s own goal meaningless for the visitors. Rangers overtook fellow continental campaigners Lobi Stars to third on the log despite have six games in hand.

Lobi on their own had the comeback of the weekend after coming from two goals down to snatch a point at Niger Tornadoes. Former Golden Eaglets left back Mohammed Aliyu Goyi scored twice from the penalty spot either side of half time to give Tornaodes a commanding 2-0 lead in Minna but Lobi striker Samad Kadri scored for the first time this season and made it a double before the hour mark to end the game 2-2.

In Port Harcourt, Wikki Tourists recorded their first away win of the season in a shock 2-1 win against Rivers United. Defensive players Saidu Abdullahi and Hassan Musa gave Aliyu Zubair’s team a 2-0 lead before Ossy Martins scored eight minutes to the break to give United some hopes which were not built upon in the second half.

Segun Alebiosu scored a 35th minute winner as Kwara United took their pound of flesh from Katsina United who defeated them in the reverse fixture last week. The 1-0 win takes the Harmony Warriors above Katsina on the group A log with fifteen points as against their opponents’ fourteen.

Sunshine Stars became the first visiting team to score at the Enyimba Stadium in Aba this season but they failed to get a point in their 1-2 loss to Enyimba. Midfielder Dare Olatunji’s first half goal doubled by Ifeanyi Anaemena’s 70th minute penalty was halved by Israel Abia, his first NPFL goal of the season to set up a nervy ending. The win however took Enyimba to within three points of Group leaders MFM who lost 0-1 to Insurance on Saturday.

Group B

Akwa United extended their unbeaten run to eight games and most importantly climbed to the summit of the group B table after a hard fought 1-0 win over Heartland at the Nest of Champions on Sunday. Midfielder Cyril Olisema netted the only goal from the penalty spot as Rafael Everton’s men leapfrogged leaders FC Ifeanyiubah whose Match Day 12 game against Kano Pillars was moved to Wednesday due to the Kano elections.

El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri however ensured Akwa have no breathing space at the top after a shock 0-1 win away to Gombe United in a North East derby to join Akwa as joint toppers but with lesser goals difference. One of the league’s oldest players Isiaka Olawale scored in stoppage time to break the hosts’ hearts as Mohammed BabaGanaru’s men earned their second away win of the season.

El-Kanemi were not however the only last minute winners as Go Round FC might just have put a final knife on former coach Ngozi Elechi’s neck after a last gasp 1-0 win over his Yobe Desert Stars. Winger Adeseun Adelani, signed for Go Round by Elechi struck a fantastic effort in the 97th minute to take Willy Udube’s side to fourth on the log and leave Yobe sprawling at the foot of the table.

Sunday’s last game saw Plateau United ease their woes with a 1-0 win over Abia Warriors. A controversial strike by Rabiu Mohammed Zulkiful – allegedly not yet crossed the goal line – was all Abdu Maikaba’s side needed to further steer clear of relegation troubles.

Match Day 13 games will hold next weekend but there are more rescheduled games in midweek in both Groups A and B.

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