By Adeboye Amosu: Plateau United started the defence of their Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) title on an impressive note following a 1-0 away win against Nasarawa United at the Lafia Township Stadium on Sunday, Completesportsnigeria.com (CSN) reports.
NPFL: Plateau United, Tornadoes Grab Away Wins; Lobi Escape Vs Enyimba
Raphael Ayagwa stunned the home fans with an excellent finish three minutes from time.
At the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi, hosts Lobi Stars battled back from a goal down to secure a 1-1 draw against a resolute Enyimba side who put up a fine display despite the absence of five of their players who are on international duty
Former Enugu Rangers forward, Chinedu Udeagha, gave Enyimba the lead on his debut four minutes before the break following an assist by Wasiu Alalade.
The home side levelled scores from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute through Ezekiel Mbah.
Last season’s runners-up MFM FC started their campaign on a poor note, losing 2-0 against Abia Warriors at the Umuahia Township Stadium with former U-23 star Ndifreke Effiong scoring both goals.
The hosts missed the chance to take the lead early in the game when Folarin Abayomi saved Shedrack Asiegbu’s penalty which was awarded after Bashiru Monsuru upended Ndifreke in the box.
Ndifreke poked the ball into the net in the 52nd minute following a goal mouth scramble and doubled the lead in the 13th minute, nodding home Asiegbu’s corner kick.
Former champions Enugu Rangers also lost 2-0 against Akwa United at the Godswill International Stadium, Uyo.
Kelly Kester, who was in the books of Enyimba last season, combined with another debutante Victor Mbaoma to hand the Promise Keepers the lead in the 40th minute, while Dennis Nya added the second in the 66th minute.
Fans at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt went home happy following Rivers United’s 1-0 win against El-Kanemi Warriors.
Ivorian hitman Guy Kuemian was the hero of the day for Stanley Eguma’s men as his 68th minute goal was enough to give them maximum points in the game.
El-Kanemi Warriors have now lost all 10 games at the venue.
In Ilorin, Kwara United’s return to the top flight ended on a sour note as they lost 2-0 at home to Niger Tornadoes.
Eric Frimpong and Ibrahim Babawo were on target for the Ikon Allah Boys in the 11th and 49th minutes respectively.
NPFL debutantse, Go-Round FC of Omoku, failed to replicate their impressive form in the Bet9ja Nigeria National League Super Four competition as they lost 1-0 against Wikki Tourists in Jos.
Nafizu Kabuga netted the decisive goal on the stroke of half time following a mix-up in the Go-Round defence.
FC Ifeanyiubah also came out victorious on the opening day following a hard fought 2-1 home win against Yobe Desert Stars.
Former league top scorer Godwin Obaje combined well with Ivorian striker Seka Pascal to hand the Nnewi club the lead eight minutes before the break.
The visitors, who are back in the top flight following a 15-year absence, equalised through Chinedu Ohanachom in the 61st minute, while Gabriel Shola grabbed the winner for the hosts five minutes later.
In another match day one fixture, Heartland and Sunshine Stars battled to a 0-0 at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri.
MATCH DAY ONE RESULTS
Katsina United 2 vs 2 Kano Pillars
Kwara United 0 vs 2 Niger Tornadoes
Ifeanyiubah 2 vs 1 Yobe Desert Stars
Wikki Tourists 1 vs 0 Go-Round
Akwa United 2 vs 0 Enugu Rangers
Lobi Stars 1 vs 1 Enyimba
Heartland 0 vs 0 Sunshine Stars
Nasarawa United 0 vs 1 Plateau United
Rivers United 1 vs 0 El-Kanemi Warriors
Abia Warriors 2 vs 0 MFM FC