There were differing fortunes for troubled giants Enyimba and Enugu Rangers on Matchday 16 of the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League as newcomers Dakkada FC put an end to Lobi Stars one hundred per cent record at the Aper Aku Stadium on Sunday.
Resurgent Enugu Rangers made it three wins on the trot in the league for the first time this season as they moved out of relegation waters to the heady heights of 16th with a 3-1 win over visitors Abia Warriors at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.
The seven-time NPFL champions were in front after seven minutes through in-form forward Ibrahim Olawoyin who notched up his third goal in as many games.
Lukman Bello made it 1-1 just five minutes later but Ifeanyi George scored a brace either side of half-time to give the Flying Antelopes only their fourth win of the campaign.
While Rangers appeared to have found form, reigning champions Enyimba are heading in the opposite direction as goals from Uche Sebastine and Ikenna Cooper of FC Ifeanyiubah condemned them to a third loss on the spin.
The decision to entrust erstwhile assistant coach Fatai Osho with the reins following the sacking of Usman Abd’Allah after a 4-0 pasting at Plateau United on Matchday 14 appears to not be working as the expected new manager bounce has failed to materialise.
Osho oversaw a 4-1 win over San Pedro in Aba in the CAF Confederation Cup but has found it hard-going in the league presiding over the Aba Elephant’s first home loss in over six years in a 2-0 loss to Heartland FC before this latest reversal.
Newcomers Dakkada FC who have just a solitary loss away from home this season, rebounded from a 3-0 home loss to Nasarrawa United to become the first team to stop Lobi Stars in Makurdi this season as they recorded a sixth draw away from home.
The goalless stalemate at the Aper Aku Stadium between the team with the best home record and one with the best away record saw Lobi fall one place to second on goals difference.
Plateau United replaced Lobi Stars at the summit of the NPFL following a 5-0 pasting of bottom side Adamawa United in Jos with Ibrahim Mustapha (brace), Oche Ochowechi, Uche Onwuasoanya and Abba Umar all on the score sheet.
Elsewhere, Nwagua Nyima and captain Rabiu Ali struck late to help Kano Pillars to a 2-0 win over Akwa United at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano as the momentum generated by Kennedy Boboye appears to be petering out after two straight defeats.
Wikki Tourist defeated visiting MFM FC 2-1 thanks to two first-half goals by Promise Damala and Olushola Ajala.
Kwara United and Sunshine Stars shared the spoils in Ilorin in a goalless draw game just like it happened between Heartland FC and Katsina United in Okigwe.
2019/2020 NPFL Matchday 16 Results
Enugu Rangers 3-1 Abia Warriors
(Ibrahim Olawoyin 7’, Ifeanyi George 41’, 69’ – Lukman Bello 12’)
Wikki Tourists 2-1 MFM
(Promise Damala 18’, Olushola Ajala 45+1’ – Izuchukwu Chimezie 47’)
Kwara United 0-0 Sunshine Stars
Kano Pillars 2-0 Akwa United
(Nyima Nwagua 76’, Rabiu Ali 79’)
FC Ifeanyiubah 2-0 Enyimba
(Uche Sebastine 37’ , Ikenna Cooper 66’)
Plateau United 5-0 Adamawa United
(Ibrahim Mustapha 18’, 40’ Oche Ochowechi 25’, Uche Onwuasoanya 65’, Abba Umar 90’)
Heartland 0-0 Katsina United
Lobi Stars 0-0 Dakkada International