Nigeria’s elite League playoffs kicked off at the Soccer Temple Agege as all six teams started their bid to secure CAF club competition places and most importantly the NPFL trophy.
ENYIMBA V RANGERS INTERNATIONAL
FT SCORE: 1-0
Goalscorer: Joseph Osadiaye 49min (Enyimba)
The most anticipated game of match day one started as a cagey affair with both sides trying each other out for size majorly in the midfield, but as the game wore on, Enyimba became the more efficient team troubling the Rangers defense with Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, Thomas Zenke and Ibrahim Mustapha all causing all sorts of problem in the first fifteen minutes of the game.
The game spurned into life in the 22nd minutes, when Enyimba thought they had a penalty after Ibenegbu was brought down in the Rangers box but the referee rather showed the Enyimba midfielder a yellow card for simulation.
Minutes before halftime, the people’s elephant went a bit closer with Ibenegbu hitting the cross bar from a close range free kick before Rangers Goalkeeper Nana Bonsu pushed the rebound out for a corner which was wasted subsequently.
The second half was more productive for Enyimba despite Rangers stepping up their game and in the 49th minute, Joseph Osadiaye placed the ball in the bottom right corner after a chip into his path by Ibrahim Mustapha.
With the game running to an end, Rangers threw everything they had at the Enyimba defense but failed to create a clear cut chance in a lacklusture display.
Both teams will now return to action on Thursday June 6 with Rangers battling Lobi by 5pm and Enyimba facing Kano Pillars by 7pm.
Enyimba: Theophilus Afelokhai, Andrew Abalogu (c), Ifeanyi Anaemena, Nelson Ogbonnaya, Nasiru Sani, Thomas Zenke, Dare Olatunji, Austin Oladapo, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, Joseph Osadiaye, Ibrahim Mustapha
SUB: Stanley Nwabali, Stanley Okorom, Stephen Manyo, Bright Emmanuel, Chinedu Udeagha, Reuben Bala, Bashir Abdulrahman
Rangers: Nana Bonsu, Tope Olusesi, Ugwu Uwadiegwu, Tony Shimaga, Isiaka Oladuntoye, Semiu Liadi, Ifeanyi George, Michael Uchebo, Godwin Aguda, Koffi Roland, Chidiebere Okolie
SUB: Japhet Opubo, Okey Odita, Bobby Clement, Ajani Ibrahim, Ifeanyi Egwim, Felix Ogbuke, Solomon Okpako
WHAT COACH SAID
KANO PILLARS V AKWA UNITED
FT SCORE: 2-2
Goalscorers: David Ebuka 3’, Nyima Nwagua 33’ (Pillars), Ndifreke Effiong 31’, Godspower Aniefiok 37’ (Akwa United)
The second game of the day started in an interesting fashion as Pillars took the lead just 3 minutes into the game as Ebuka David pounced after Akwa United failed to clear a cross which came into the box from across.
In the 20th minute Pillars came close to doubling the lead but Olorunleke Ojo pushed Rabiu Ali’s well taken free-kick away and ten minutes later United restored the parity through a well-placed header from Ndifreke Effiong after an inch-perfect cross from Wilson Elu.
The blitz of goals continued with Nyima Nwangwa restoring the lead for the Northerners only to give it up four minutes later in the same fashion as the first this time, early substitute, Mfon Udoh put in a cross which was headed into the bottom as the first half drew to a close.
The second half started with end to end action with Mfon Udoh putting a one on one chance wide in the 52nd minutes, Kano Pillars almost got the winner in the 80th minutes only to be denied by a double save by Akwa United goalkeeper, Olorunleke Ojo.
The game ended in dramatic fashion as Kano Pillars were reduced to ten men after a red card to Ifeanyi Nweke with four minutes left and despite another additional four added minutes, it was not enough to produce a winner on the night. It ended 2-2 final score.
Kano Pillars: Idrissu Ibrahim, Ifeanyi Nweke, Chris Madaki, Adeshola David, Emmanuel Anyanwu, Sunday Chinedu, Alassan Ibrahim 8
Rabiu Ali, Auwal Malam Ali, Nwagua Nyima,
SUB: Danladi Isah, Victor Dennis, Uzochukwu Austin, Yusuf Maigoro, Mustapha Salisu,
Nzube Anaezemba, Gambo Muhammad
Akwa United: Ojo Olorunleke, Wilson Elu,
Kodjovi Dadzie, Marshal Johnson, Dennis Nya, Blaise Adou, Cyril Olisema, Aniefiok Godspower, Ndifreke Effiong, Emmanuel Charles, Alberico Da Silva.
SUB: Jean Efala, Etboy Akpan, Godspower Igudia, Ubong Essien, Paul Obata, Wisdom Fernando, Mfon Udoh
WHAT COACH SAID
Coach: Akwa United
Coach: Kano Pillars
IFEANYI UBAH V LOBI STARS
FT SCORE: 1-3
Goalscorers: Tega Ebetomame 38″ (Ifeanyi Ubah) Samad Kadiri 2″,60″(Lobi), Sikiru Alimi (Lobi)
The final game of the night started with an early goal as Samad Kadiri scored the first of his brace after just two minutes striking from close range. From there on it was a cagey affair until the 39th minute when Tega Ebetomame scored for Ifeanyi Ubah to restore parity just before the break.
The second half started on a bright note for Lobi with Samuel Mathias hitting the bar from a long Range free kick and five minutes later he tried his luck shooting high and wide from distance.
However, the markurdi based side got a reward for their persistence in the 60th minutes as Samad Kadiri scored his second after his strike partner Sikiru Alimi headed into his path in the box hitting a second bite of the cherry after his initial effort hit the foot of the post, to tuck into an empty.
The best goal of the day was saved for the last as Sikiru Alimi hit a sumptuous overhead kick to extend Lobi’s lead and give the defending Champions a good start to the Championship play-offs.
FC Ifeanyi Ubah: Sharp Uzoigwe, Promise James, Chidi Madu, Ikenna Cooper, Charles Okafor, Jimoh Gbadamosi, Christian Nnaji, Chijioke Alaekwe, Chibuike Eze, Tera Ebitomame, Nonso Nzediegwu
SUB: Subs: Chinedu Anozie, Chinonso Udeh, Emmanuel Mathew, Uche Onuoha 12. Samson Junior, Onuoha Chukwujekwu, Uche Ihuarulam
Lobi Stars: Ospino Egbe, John Lazarus, Ebube Duru, Alex Aghahowa, Solomon Kwambe, Monsuru Bashiru Olawale, Samuel Mathias, Ezekiel Ojudigha, Sikiru Alimi, Kelly Kester, Samad Timilehin Kadiri
SUB: Subs: Olufemi Kayode, Moses Bunde, Michael Stephen, Austin Ogunye, Dare Ojo, Andrew A. Nzekwesi, Tiza Iorwuese.