It rained goals on match day three (3) of the NPFL19Playoffs as Kano Pillars and Enyimba pulled clear of the chasing pack on Saturday at the Soccer Temple, Agege.
Three players scored a brace each as Match Day 3 recorded a total of 13 goals in three matches, an average of over 4.3 goals per game.
In an entertaining day in Agege, the former champions secured valuable wins against Ifeanyi Ubah and Lobi Stars respectively to move clear of their four other challengers on the table.
Pillars sealed their second consecutive victory after a 2-1 win over FCIU in the first game of the match day, albeit not without some controversies.
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The Kano side took a 1-0 lead on the stroke of first half courtesy of a bizarre penalty call from the center referee.
The decision led to a protest from FCIU bench which lasted for almost ten minutes as FCIU threatened to walk out.
After the Anambra Warriors returned to the pitch, Rabiu Ali eventually stepped up to the plate to calmly convert from the spot to put Pillars ahead at the break.
Following the restart, Pillars reaffirmed their superiority when they doubled their advantage three minutes after the hour mark through David Ebuka.
However, Matthew Emmanuel pulled one back for FCIU six minutes after coming on to give the Makurdi side hope but Pillars held on for the win and three points.
The victory means Pillars cement their place at the top of the log with seven points, one ahead of Enyimba in second.
Stanley Dimgba’s brace lifts Enyimba past Lobi
In his first start at the playoffs, Stanley Dimgba proved to be the hero and showed his manager why he must start often following an inspired display against the defending champions, Lobi Stars.
Dimgba scored in each half as the People’s Elephant defeated Lobi 3-1 to move to within a point of leaders, Pillars.
Abdulrahman Bashir and Dimgba gave Enyimba a 2-0 lead but a superb Samuel Mathias strike from outside the box saw Lobi reduce the deficit at the break.
Enyimba will seal their second win in three games when Dimgba netted his second and Enyimba’s third to end whatever hopes Lobi had of a comeback.
Ten-man Rangers, Akwa United in dramatic six-goal thriller
The final game of match day served up a spectacle after ten-man Rangers played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Akwa United
This game saw two players net a brace apiece, Michael Uchebo for Rangers, while Denis Nya repeated the feat for the Promise Keepers.
Cyril Olisemah set the ball rolling when his penalty put Akwa United 1-0 up before things went from bad to worse for Rangers when they were reduced to ten-men.
Isiaka Oladuntoye was sent off just after the hour mark after picking up his second yellow of the game.
Nevertheless, that turned out to be the boost the Flying Antelopes needed as they remarkably turned the game around in the space of six second half minutes.
Christian Madu equalised three minutes after they went a man down, with Uchebo seemingly putting the game beyond the Promise Keepers after netting a brace in the space of two minutes.
Rather than capitulate, Akwa dug deep and served up a late drama that the game indeed deserved as Nya replied with a brace of his own also in the space of two minutes to earn Akwa a share of the spoils.
Pillars 2-1 FCIU
Lobi 1-3 Enyimba
Akwa Utd 3-3 Rangers