Plateau United succumbed to a shock 2-0 defeat to Kwara United at the New Jos Stadium as the 2020-21 Nigeria Professional Football League kicked off on Sunday with the first round of matchday 1 fixtures, nine months after the coronavirus pandemic forced the end of the previous season.
Plateau United topped the league prior to its curtailment and boss Abdu Maikaba had declared this season one in which they’d complete their “unfinished business” from last season.
But Maikaba’s wards were quickly brought down to earth and any talk of a title challenge swiftly discarded for now at least as the visitors delivered two death blows in the second half to leave the hosts shell shocked.
Despite Plateau United having played two competitive fixtures in the Champions League where they lost to Simba FC in the preliminary round, Kwara United looked the sharper of both sides and their superiority was confirmed as Jide Fatokun and Michael Ohanu both found the net five minutes apart after the interval to hand the visitors a dream start to the campaign.
Maikaba must now look to resolve his side’s reticence in front of goal with Plateau United having failed to find the net in all three of their competitive games domestically and on the continent.
Elsewhere, Ebenezer Odeyemi scored on his debut as MFM saw off Warri Wolves at the Agege Township Stadium.
Odeyemi opened scoring for Tony Bolus’ side in the 8th minute with Muyiwa Balogun then doubling their advantage 15 minutes later.
John Paul Chinedu pulled one back for the visitors in the 27th minute in a goal-filled opening half hour but there were to be no more goals in the game as the hosts held on for all three points.
Nasarawa United recovered from a slow start to beat Wikki Tourist at the Lafia Township Stadium.
Promise Damala put the visitors in front after just five minutes but Reuben Nicodemus restored parity two minutes later before completing his brace in the 52nd minute to give the hosts a 2-1 win.
Nonso Nzediegwu’s goal was enough to help FC Ifeanyiubah overcome Lobi Stars with Jigawa Golden Stars also beating Sunshine Stars by a lone goal scored by Stone Onukwube.
And Isa Garba’s 75th minute leveller cancelled Rabiu Ali’s early goal to ensure home side Adamawa United rescued a point against Kano Pillars.
The concluding round of matchday 1 fixtures will be completed on Monday and Tuesday.
NPFL 2020-21 MD1 Results.
MFM 2-1 Wolves (Ebenezer Odeyemi 8’, Muyiwa Balogun 23’ – John Paul Chinedu 27’)
Plateau Utd 0-2 Kwara Utd (Jide Fatokun 62’, Michael Ohanu 67’)
Nasarawa Utd 2-1 Wikki Tourists (Reuben Nicodemus 7’, 52’ – Promise Damala 5’)
Jigawa GS 1-0 Sunshine Stars (Stone Onukwube 78’)
Adamawa Utd 1-1 Kano Pillars (Isa Garba 75’ – Rabiu Ali 13’)
FCIU 1-0 Lobi (Nonso Nzediegwu 47’)