Kennedy Boboye began life as Akwa United head coach in dramatic fashion as Samson Gbadebo’s 97th minute winner helped the Promise Keepers claim a last gasp 2-1 victory over in form Rivers United on Matchday 9 of the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium on Wednesday.
Veteran striker Akarandut Orok rewarded Boboye’s decision to start him ahead of NPFL record goalscorer Mfon Udoh by giving the Promise Keepers an early lead after 10 minutes. Ngouan Konan, however, restored parity for the hosts in the 34th minute before Samson Gbadebo scored the winner deep into second half added time to send the home fans into rapturous delight.
It was just the second victory all season for the Uyo based team as they seek to draw the line under John Obuh’s less than impressive reign which came to an end after a 3-0 whitewash at MFM on Matchday 8.
Elsewhere, Salisu Yusuf’s wait for a first victory in any competition as Enugu Rangers head coach continued as the beleaguered Flying Antelopes could only manage a barren stalemate against league leaders Plateau United at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.
The draw at least put a halt to 19th placed Rangers’ run of three straight losses at home in all competitions after they also managed to stem their tide of four straight defeats in all competitions with a draw at Wikki Tourists on Matchday 8.
Second placed Dakkada FC failed to score for the first time in the league but continued their fairytale start to life in the topflight with a highly creditable draw at Katsina United.
The Akwa Ibom side who are two points off the top of the log have set a record for the best start in the NPFL for a newly promoted side and are incredibly yet to taste defeat away from home this season as they became just the second side after Enyimba to leave the Mohammed Dikko Stadium without defeat.
In Aba, Lobi United became the first team to stop Enyimba at home this season as Gbenga Ogunbote masterminded a 1-1 draw at his former employers.
Enyimba had won all four league games at their eponymously named stadium prior to the visit of the NPFL third placed team who were on a six game unbeaten run following a 3-1 loss at league leaders Plateau United on the opening day.
Lobi had also kept clean sheets in every game since that loss and looked to leave Aba with yet another clean sheet and all three points when playmaker Samad Kadiri put them ahead in the 77th minute.
Lobi’s lead was shortlived however as red hot striker Victor Mbaoma restored parity for the hosts just three minutes later as Usman Abd’Allah’s side forced a share of the spoils.
FC Ifeanyiubah bounced back from the 5-1 pasting suffered at Plateau United on Sunday with a Chigozie Chilekwu inspired 1-0 win over Kwara United in Nnewi. United remained mired in relegation trouble in 18th place as their disastrous return to the league continued with a second straight defeat.
Kano Pillars striker Nyima Nwagua 85th minute equaliser put an end to Heartland FC two game winning run as the Sai Masu Gida claimed a share of the spoils in Okigwe. Aputaziem Ugochukwu Leonard had put the hosts ahead three minutes after the break.
Idris Abubakar’s brace helped Adamawa United who had endured a 3-0 shellacking at home to Sunshine United last weekend, redeem themselves in front of home fans at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe with a 2-1 victory over hapless Nasarawa United.
Nasarawa United comfortably rooted in last place remain without a win after nine round of matches – the only team yet to win a game this season.
Abia Warriors also claimed a 2-1 win over Jigawa Golden Stars with Emmanuel Ugwuka and Jimoh Oni hitting the target in the first half for the hosts while Abdullahi Lala halved the deficit for the visitors in the second half.
Elsewhere, Warri Wolves claimed a first win in six games as they snapped a run of no wins in their last two home games with a 1-0 victory over Wikki Tourists.
2019/2020 NPFL Matchday 9 Results
Enyimba 1-1 Lobi Stars
(Victor Mbaoma 80’ – Samad Kadiri 77’)
Heartland 1-1 Kano Pillars
(Aputaziem Ugochukwu Leonard 48’ – Nyima Nwagua 85’)
FC Ifeanyiubah 1-0 Kwara United
(Chigozie Chilekwu 77)
Adamawa Unitedd 2-1 Nasarawa United
(Idris Abubakar 41’, 63’ – Abubakar Lawan 54’ (PEN))
Abia Warriors 2-1 Jigawa Golden Stars
(Emmanuel Ugwuka 18’, Jimoh Oni 45+1’ – Abdullahi Lala 49’)
Warri Wolves 1-0 Wikki Tourists
(Victory Omodiagbe 6’)
Akwa United 2-1 Rivers United
(Akarandut Orok 10’, Samson Gbadebo 90+7’ – Ngouan Konan 34’)
Katsina United 0-0 Dakkada
Rangers 0-0 Plateau Utd