The 2018/19 Nigeria Professional Football League entered Match Day 3 (MD3) on Sunday with eight games taking place in different centres as newly promoted sides got their baptism of fire.
The games served up positives and negatives in almost equal proportion with the impressive results recorded by some teams almost completely overshadowed by a case of barbarism in Sagamu, Ogun state where referees were manhandled after the draw between Remo Stars and Insurance.
Chief Football Writer Fisayo Dairo wraps up five major talking points from Match Day 3
1. Remo Stars welcomes all with referees assault
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Unfortunately, the first talking point has to be on the negative.
Remo Stars welcomed their fellow newly promoted opponents Insurance to Sagamu in both sides’ first game of the season. Victor Mbaoma’s goal fourteen minutes from time earned them a share of the spoils after Insurance had taken the lead.
However, the team of match officials led by Bethel Nwanesi were descended upon heavily by irate fans, inflicting varying degree of injuries on them. The reason was some perceived bias in their discharge of duties, including a controversially disallowed goal.
Our darling @RemoStarsFC will never learn.
Because the game between them and Insurance of Benin ended 1-1, the referee was treated like a common criminal
Pics credit – Kelechi Mejuobi (Nigeria Referees Association Publicity Secretary)@LMCNPFL @genakhena pic.twitter.com/i7m5ze5egd
— FIFAWorldCup (@Guarantor2011) January 20, 2019
2. Segun Alebiosu redeems self with brace
Kwara United striker Alebiosu was left to write a note of apology after his own goal inspired MFM FC to a 2-0 win over his side in Lagos last Wednesday. That came after he missed a penalty on Match Day one in front of his home fans as United failed to pick maximum points.
He returned home on Sunday and duly recompensed for his sins, scoring twice to draw the team level on every occasion they went behind to Enyimba. His team would then find the winner to secure a 3-2 win, their first win of the season.
3. Three games, three clean sheets for FC Ifeanyiubah
FC Ifeanyiubah continued their fairytale run with a 0-0 draw at Go Round. The youthful side from Nnewi produced a very disciplined defensive display and could have even earned the full marks had they taken their chances in the second half. They now have five points from three games but more importantly, they have been able to shut out their opponents on each occasion.
4. Charles Omokaro: Age is just a number
One of the oldest players in the top flight made his presence count on his return to the big league at a ‘ripe old age’. He was named in the starting lineup and scored a very good goal to give Insurance the lead against Remo Stars.
Unmarked inside the box, Omokaro latched onto a cutback and deftly lifted his one-time effort high over onrushing Remo goalkeeper Emmanuel Fabiyi with the ball dropping into the net in spite of Remo defenders’ half-hearted attempt at goal line clearance.
5. Respite for Abdu Maikaba at last
It has not been a good way to start the season for the highly rated Maikaba in charge of his new side Plateau United. A draw at home to FC Ifeanyiubah was followed by banishment to Ilorin and a subsequent 3-0 thumping at Heartland.
They got their reprieve on Sunday however when they enjoyed a routine 2-0 win over El-Kanemi Warriors. Saeed Jubril and winger Bernard Ovoke scored both goals for them in Ilorin.
Heartland FC were the biggest winners on Match Day Three after they dug deep to secure a 1-0 win over Nasarawa United in Lafia. Youngster Samuel Nnoshiri netted the winner on the quarter hour mark.
Click HERE to read our Match Day 3 wrap.