#NPFL18 Week 1 Review: Holders Plateau United, Niger Tornadoes in shock away win

Nasarawa United 0-1 Plateau United

Plateau United opened up their 2017-18 campaign with a trip to Nasarawa United and there was very little action in the opening 45 minutes.

The game did come to life until the 50th minute when Nasarawa’s Nojeem Olukokun blasted a chance wide much to the displeasure of the Solid Miners supporters.

Misery would come their way as the reigning NPFL champions took the lead through Raphael Ayagwa with three minutes to go on the clock to ensure Kenny Boboye’s men starting their title defence in the best possible fashion.

Kwara United 0-2 Niger Tornadoes

Newly promoted Kwara United were up against Niger Tornadoes and it was last season’s Federation Cup runners-up that took the lead after 11 minutes via Eric Frimpong who headed home from close range.

Kwara’s Michael Ohanu was within sight of goal but was flagged for offside. It would be more misery for Kwara after the break as Tornadoes doubled their lead from a fantastic counter-attack with Ibrahim Babawo finishing the move.

FC IfeanyiUbah 2-1 Yobe Desert Stars

FC IfeanyiUbah hosted new boys Yobe Desert Stars in Nnewi and would have taken the lead on 21 minutes after Saviour Francis whipped in a freekick but Pascal Seka headed over the bar.

Seka then combined well with Godwin Obaje – who finished off this time around. Yobe would get their first top-flight goal since 2002 through Chinedu Ohanachom who headed home from Moses Teshuan’s cross.

The Anambra Warriors would, however, retake the lead through Shola Adegboye. 2-1 it ended in favour of the 2016 Federation Cup champions

Wikki Tourists 1-0 Go Round FC

Wikki Tourist entertained NPFL debutants Go Round FC in Bauchi and the new boys had a player booked just after two minutes, Chris Kpekpe getting a yellow for a foul on Idris Guda.

Go Round were on the cusp of getting their first ever top-flight goal but skipper Nelson Esor’s effort hit the woodwork. Wikki would, however, get the lead via Nafiu Kabuga who benefited from a mixup in the visiting team’s defence.

The Bauchi Elephants could have been two-goal up after the restart but Abubakar Lawal’s headed effort was ruled out for offside.

Lobi Stars 1-1 Enyimba

Lobi Stars welcomed seven-time NPFL champions Enyimba to Makurdi and Thomas Adeshina had the chance to give the hosts the lead but his header from an Ebube Duru cross went wide.

The Peoples Elephant, however, took the lead six minutes from the break as Wasiu Alade showed Aliassou Sanou a clean pair of heels before teeing up with Chinedu Udeagha who applied finishing touch.

Parity would be restored on 62 minutes as Lobi were awarded a penalty and Ezekiel Mba did not miss. Both sides, thus, settled for a share of the spoils.

Heartland 0-0 Sunshine Stars

Heartland gained immediate promotion to the NPFL having relegated in 2016 and played host to Sunshine Stars. It was a cagey first half in Owerri with very little of chances created.

The first worthy moment came in the second half as Francis Momoh’s low shot from the edge of the penalty area was saved by Sunshine goalie Henry Ayodele.

A goalmouth scramble ensued in the 78th minute but Egbujor Nnamdi could not convert from six yards. A goalless stalemate was how it ended in the Imo State capital and the Owena Whales will take solace from an away point earned.

Rivers United 1-0 El Kanemi Warriors

Rivers United defeated El Kanemi Warriors 1-0 at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium to start the 2017-18 season on a positive note.

Samuel Akinbinu had a chance to put the Pride of Rivers in front on eight minutes but his effort went wide.

Stanley Eguma’s men would have to wait until the 67th minutes to get the match-winning strike which came through Guy Kuemian.

Abia Warriors 2-0 MFM

Last season’s runners-up MFM started their 2018 campaign away at Abia Warriors and were handed a 2-0 defeat.

The Umuahia outfit won a penalty in the second minute after Bashiru Monsuru upended Ndifreke Effiong in the 18-yard area. The spot kick was however saved by MFM goalie Folarin Abayomi.

The Ucendu Boys would open proceedings in the second half with Effiong scoring from a rebound off a Samson Obi effort.

Effiong would get brace – the first in the new season – not too long after connecting well with Shedrack Asiegbu’s corner kick. Fidelis Ilechukwu’s men left the Umuahia Township Stadium empty-handed.

Katsina United 2-2 Kano Pillars

The Muhammadu Dikko Stadium was the venue of the opening game of the 2017-18 Nigeria Professional Football League season. Hosts Katsina United and Kano Pillars played out a thrilling 2-2 draw on Saturday.

Junior Lakosa got things into gear, putting Sai Masu Gida in the lead in the 33rd minute. They were however down to 10 men, two minutes into the break after Victor Dennis made a two-footed challenge on Eric Gwammy.

Katsina would not be denied as they equalised through an Ajanachinedu Chukwujekwu header before the interval.

Despite their disadvantage, Pillars retook the lead 16 minutes after the break through Alhassan Ibrahim whose screamer was too hot for Katsina number one Dami Paul to handle.

The Chanji Boys were handed a penalty 10 minutes from time after Emmanuel Anyanwu fell Chukwujekwu. Muhammed Hussaini was the man to take it but Pillars goalie David Obiozor did well to save it.

With a few seconds left on the clock after five additional minutes, Abdullahi Usman’s man were awarded a second spot-kick and this time, Destiny Ashadi buried it into the net to earn the hosts a share of the spoils.

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