Match Day 15 of the 2018/2019 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) saw four players score braces and four penalties awarded as Enugu Rangers became the first team to win back-to-back games away from home to keep their incredible 11 games unbeaten streak and their place at the top of Group A. Akwa United shorn of leading scorer Mfon Udoh, also recorded a home win to retain top spot in Group B at the end of proceedings on Sunday.
The Flying Antelopes were on the road for the second straight game following a 2-1 victory over Kwara United in Ilorin in a rescheduled midweek fixture last Wednesday and they followed up that victory – their first on the road this season – with another 2-1 win over Sunshine Stars in Akure.
Red hot forward Pascal Seka put Rangers ahead in the 29th minute but their lead lasted all of three minutes before Anthony Omaka leveled matters for the hosts. Seka completed his brace in the 44th minute to restore the visitors lead at half time.
The hosts rallied in the second half and had an opportunity to draw level when they were awarded a penalty in the 74th minute. Rangers Goalie Nana Bonsu, however, saved Franklin Sasere’s effort and although Anthony Omaka reacted the quickest to turn in the rebound, his effort was ruled out for offside.
Gbenga Ogunbote’s wards held on for the win to move to 27 points at the top of Group A, three more than second placed Enyimba and incredibly, they still have three games in hand on their rivals.
Enyimba moved up to second in Group A with a 2-0 win over 10 man Kwara United at the Enyimba Stadium in Aba with Stanley Dimgba hitting a brace for the Peoples Elephant. United had barely settled when Dimgba scored the opener for the seven-time league champions after just two minutes. Sunday Akinmoladun saw red for the visitors four minutes into the second half to give the home side numerical superiority and they duly capitalized with Dimgba completing his brace with a lovely finish following a flowing team move in the 73rd minute.
Katsina United saw off visiting Rivers United with goals from Tasiu Lawal from the spot in the first and Usman Barau in the second half. Cletus Emotan halved the deficit for Rivers in the second half but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 2-1 victory for the hosts.
Niger Tornadoes moved off the foot of the table with a 2-0 win over Wikki Tourists in Minna. Ahmadu Liman scored a brace to lift Tornadoes to 11th although they remain level on thirteen points with the bottom-placed team. Wikki meanwhile will start looking over their shoulders as they find themselves just one point above the relegation places in 8th.
Kelly Kester made a goal line clearance to help Lobi Stars thwart MFM FC at the Agege Township Stadium in an encounter that ended goalless. Home side MFM have now dropped points and failed to score in consecutive home games for the first time this season. They drop to third, level on 24 points with Enyimba but with an inferior goals difference.
Remo Stars bring up the rear in Group A despite earning a creditable draw away at Bendel Insurance in a match played on Saturday in Benin.
In Group B, group leaders Akwa United were without the league’s top scorer Mfon Udoh but still had enough firepower to dispatch four-time league winners Kano Pillars 3-0 at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.
Ndifreke Effiong scored a magnificent free kick in the 17th minute to put The Promise Keepers on their way. Emmanuel Charles added a second for the hosts in the 52nd minute and defender Kodjovi Dadzie scored the third when he nodded in substitute Chigozie Chikwelu’s corner kick in the 90th minute.
El Kanemi Warriors kept pace with Akwa United at the top of Group B after Anthony Yeful scored in the 65th minute to hand them a narrow 1-0 win over Plateau United at the Maiduguri Stadium. Warriors have 28 points same as group leaders Akwa United although their goals difference of +6 is four lesser than Akwa United’s. Plateau United find their campaign going increasingly off the rails as they find themselves in relegation trouble in 11th place and four points from safety.
Uche Ihuarulam brace ensured it remained tight at the top of Group B as FC Ifeanyiubah saw off Go Round FC 2-0 in Nnewi. FC Ifeanyiubah’s victory moves them to within one point of the top two sides in the group.
Heartland FC put Nasarawa United to the sword at the Okigwe Township Stadium with goals from Nnamdi Egbujor, Chukwudi Nwaodu and Joshua Akhabue handing the hosts a 3-1 victory. Sunusi Ibrahim was on target for the visitors.
Gombe United bought some breathing space with a 1-0 defeat of Delta Force with Chukwudi Samuel bagging the winner for the home side in the 70th minute. United move up to 10th on 17 points, three points from safety and their vanquished opponents who occupy 8th place.
Ninth-placed Abia Warriors moved to within two points of safety with a 1-0 win over bottom of the table Yobe Desert Stars. Ibrahim Olawoyin scored the winner for the hosts in the 81st minute.
2018/2019 NPFL MATCH DAY 15 RESULTS
BENDEL INSURANCE 0-0 REMO STARS
SUNSHINE STARS 1-2 ENUGU RANGERS
(Anthony Omaka 32’ – Pascal Seka 29’, 44’)
NIGER TORNADOES 2-0 WIKKI TOURISTS
(Ahmadu Liman 24’, 60’)
ENYIMBA 2-0 KWARA UNITED
(Stanley Dimgba 2’, 73’)
KATSINA UNITED 2-1 RIVERS UNITED
(Tasiu Lawal 18’ (Pen), Usman Barau 51’ – Cletus Emotan 67’)
MFM 0-0 LOBI STARS
AKWA UNITED 3-0 KANO PILLARS
(Ndifreke Effiong 17’, Emmanuel Charles 52’, Kodjovi Dadzie 90’)
FC IFEANYIUBAH 2-0 GO ROUND FC
(Uche Ihuarulam 18’ (pen), 52’)
HEARTLAND FC 3-1 NASARAWA
(Nnamdi Egbujor 10’ (pen), Chukwudi Nwaodu 42’ Joshua Akhabue 61’ – Sunusi Ibrahim 28’)
GOMBE UNITED 1-0 DELTA FORCE
(Chukwudi Samuel 70’’)
ABIA WARRIORS 1-0 YOBE DESERT STARS
(Ibrahim Olawoyin 81’)
EL KANEMI WARRIORS 1-0 PLATEAU UNITED
(Anthony Yeful 65’’)