After months of uncertainty, the 2019/2020 season of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) finally kicked off on Sunday with MFM FC securing the day’s sole away win with a 1-0 victory over former coach Fidelis Ilechukwu’s Heartland FC in Okigwe.
Long-anticipated since the opening fixtures were announced, the tie jocularly dubbed “the Fidelis Ilechukwu Derby” saw Ilechukwu bested by his successor Tony Bolus.
Clement Ogwu scored from Adeyinka Najeem’s 39th-minute corner to condemn the Naze Millionaires to defeat and secure bragging rights for the Lagos based club.
Elsewhere, goals from Nerot Silas and Amos Gyang helped Plateau United get their season off to a flying start with a 3-1 victory over Lobi Stars in Jos.
Warri Wolves on their return to the topflight were held 1-1 by Akwa United with Mfon Udoh restoring parity for the visitors after Samuel Amadi’s second-minute opener for the hosts.
It also ended 1-1 between Delta Force and Abia Starlets in Delta in a battle of NPFL newcomers with Bala Yahuza’s 78th-minute equaliser securing a share of the spoils for Force after Isaac Goerge had given Starlets a 50th-minute lead.
Samuel Kalu scored a debut goal to hand FC Ifeanyiubah a 1-0 home win over newcomers Adamawa United in Nnewi, while in Umuahia, Jimoh Oni scored in both halves to give Abia Warriors a 2-0 win over Katsina United.
Idris Guda scored a 61st-minute winner for Wikki Tourists who edged Jigawa Golden Stars 2-1 at the Pantami Stadium while Kano Pillars were held to a goalless draw by Rivers United at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano.
2019/2020 NPFL Match Day One Results
Plateau United 3-1 Lobi Stars
(Nerot Silas 12’, Solomon Kwambe 27’ (og), Amos Gyang 67’ – Sikiru Alimi 32’ (pen))
Heartland FC 0-1 MFM FC
(Clement Ogwu 39’)
FC Ifeanyiubah 1-0 Adamawa United
(Samuel Kalu 41′)
Warri Wolves 1-1 Akwa United
(Samuel Amadi 2’ – Mfon Udoh 28’)
Abia Warriors 2-0 Katsina Utd
(Jimoh Oni 8’, 47’)
Wikki Tourists 2-1 Jigawa Golden Stars
(Saidu Abubakar 47’, Idris Guda 61’ – Lala Abdullahi 15’)
Delta Force 1-1 Akwa Starlets
(Bala Yahuza 78’ – Isaac George 50’)
Kano Pillars 0-0 Rivers United