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Thursday, 25 February 2016

2015/2016 NPFL Match Day 2 Reports

A total of seven matches were played at different centres on Wednesday 24th February, 2016, match day 2 of the 2015/2016 Nigerian Professional Football League season. Three matches were postponed due to clubs involvement in continental competitions.

The interesting fixtures produced 16 goals, almost equalling the number of goals scored from 10 fixtures on match day 1. A red card was awarded. 


Reports from the seven matches played are given below:

1. MFM FC 2 - 1 Rivers United

MFM FC hosted Rivers United at the Agege Stadium in Lagos. Rivers United came into the match with the desire to continue in their winning form after the snatched 3 points from Champions Enyimba FC on match day one. But MFM FC were capable of maintaining their winning form by defeating the visitors 2 - 1 in front of their fans. 

MFM FC dominated the first half of the game. They got their first goal of the encounter through a penalty taken by Ifeanyi Ifeanyi in the 18th minute of the match. Sikiru Olatubosun scored in the 24th minute to put the host 2 goals up. 

Rivers goalkeeper, Rotimi was up to the task of denying MFM FC further goals in the game and it ended 2 - 0 at half time. 

The second half of the game was pleasing to watch. Rivers United got their football skills back on the pitch and were pressing hard for an equaliser.

The introduction of fresh legs brought flair into the Rivers United team as they dominated the opening ten minute in the 2nd half of the game. 

Rivers United were favoured in the 57th minute of the round-leather game. Frederick Obomate scored his first away goal in the NPFL since match day 2 of the 2014/2015 season. His goal was significant as Rivers United two goals deficit were reduced to one goal. 

The visitors got their tactics improved minutes by minutes. Ihunda Chigozie's shot on goal in the 72nd minute was denied by the woodwork.

The MFM goalkeeper was forced into a double save in the 80th minute as Rivers United search for a second goal that can give them a point from the game. 

The game ended 2 - 1 in favour of the home team, and this makes the club top of the league table after two wins from two matches.

2. Warri Wolves 1 - 0 Kano Pillars

Warri Wolves would have to thank Kelvin Itoya for his last gasp effort that gave them a 1-0 victory over Kano Pillars in the league on Wednesday, a Match Day 2 fixture.

Incidentally, Itoya was originally supposed to start on the bench but when Okiki Omoefe’s registration papers did not return on time from Abuja, the coach, Peter Nieketen made the late change. Itoya turned out a thorn in the flesh of the Pillars side all game long as he harassed and ran at the defence like his life depended on it. He also failed to get on the score sheet on at least three occasions.

As early as the 9th minute he had his sight on goal but the assistant referee picked him up as being offside.

After 23 minutes of play, he was the cause of a yellow card shown to Jamiu Alimi who hacked him down after he beat the offside trap of Pillars.

Itoya in the 33rd minute beat the offside trap chasing a Michael Egbeta long ball. He went past his marker, but Pillars goalkeeper Yusuf Mohammed read the ball well and cleared to safety.

The game was kindly contested throughout the 90 minutes of the encounter. As early as the 6th minute Gambo Mohammed could have scored for Pillars when Warri wolves captain, Goodluck Onamado lost the ball in midfield. Gambo latched on the loose ball but Dele Ajiboye timed his tackle and cleared to safety.

The 12th minute was Warri Wolves turned to show what they had in their Arsenal as a combination play between King Osanga and Kelechi Harrison saw Osanga cross into the box but it was cleared by Zaharedeen Bello. 

Rabiu Ali was quite anonymous in the Kano Pillars midfield but when he popped up in the 26th minute it was almost enough to damage the home side’s ambitions. Adamu Hassan found space on the right and crossed onto Ali’s path but his effort went wide.

Just before half time, it was Ifeanyi Mathew of Kano Pillars who saw Dele Ajiboye off the line in a counter and tried to shoot from distance but the Warri Wolves keeper stylishly saved and cuddled the ball like a baby.

After a goaless first half, Kano Pillars coach, Baba Ganaru threw in Shagari Mohammed in place of Tijani Adamu and Peter Nieketen responded by replacing Babatunde Solomon with Markson Ojobo.

Ganaru was forced to make another change as Jamiu Alimi hobbled off injured and had to be replaced with Rubber Ogbonaya but these changes in no way reduced the high octane intensity of the game.

Markson Ojobo got the first shot on target in the 2nd half when his weak effort from outside the box was stopped by keeper, Yusuf Mohammed in the 59th minute.

Two minutes later, Kano Pillars almost drew first blood when Adamu Hassan beat the offside trap, making a darting run from the right into the box. But rather than shoot he tried to square into the box and the ball was intercepted for a corner.

Peter Nieketen then took off a fatigued Michael Egbeta for Bernard Okorowanta, obviously to put more pressure on the Pillars defence and a few minutes later Okorowanta thought he had scored when his rising shot beat the Pillars goalkeeper but ricochet off the cross bar.

Sadeeq Yusuf of Pillars who had just come in for Prince Aggrey himself hit the cross bar in the 74th minute and in a moment of panic for home side, Rabiu Ali latched on to the rebound, drew defenders towards him and passed to an unmarked Sadeeq whose effort went wide.

With two minutes left to play, and the home side throwing everything at their opponents, Yusuf Mohammed in goal for Pillars seemed to have lost concentration spilling a shot from Michael Okoyoh but he recovered on time to hold onto the loose ball.

With the game in the last minute of added time (5), Yusuf Mohammed again spilled a shot from substitute Achibi Ewenike but this time Kelvin Itoya was handy to happily slot home the rebound sending the fans at the stadium into wild frenzy. 

Warri Wolves secured their first 3 points in a match of the 2015/2016 season after drawing their opening game.

3. Wikki Tourists FC 0 - 0 Heartland FC

Wikki Tourists FC welcomed Heartland FC into the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi. 

Heartland came into the game with a record of not tasting any defeat in their last five games against Wikki Tourists. They have drawn one and won four of the last five encounters against Wikki Tourists. 

Heartland needed to protect their record against Wikki, and that was achieved after full-time of the match. It ended goalless.

4. Abia Warriors 2 - 1 El-Kanemi

The south-eastern city of Umuahia was the location for the match between home team Abia Warriors and visitors El-Kanemi. 

Michael Olaha came off the bench to score the winner as Abia Warriors laboured to a 2-1 win over ten man El-Kanemi Warriors in a Match Day 2 fixture of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) at the Umuahia Township Stadium. 

A cagey opening minutes soon turned exciting as early as the 4th minute when birthday boy Bolaji Sakin headed a ball to sent Chisom Chikatara through on goal. The Kolanut Boy as he is known did enough to hold off the defenders before slotting home to give the homers the lead.

El-Kanemi tutored by former Abia Warriors coach, Ladan Bosso urged his boys forward and it paid off five minutes later when Ibrahim Mustapha and Ohanachom Chinedu combined well to draw level.

Mustapha powered into the box beating Abia Warriors' defence for pace before making a one-two with Ohanachom whose perfect cut back was neatly buried by Mustapha.

El-Kanemi having lost their first game of the season at home to Wikki Tourists took control of the game; perhaps not willing to lose two games in a row spur them on. They defended well and in numbers and also created few chances that amounted to nothing though.

They played well until the 33rd minute of the game when Alex Otakho was sent off for a second bookable offence to put his side one man short and on the back foot. They maintained their shape and went to the break level on score board.

Kennedy Boboye must have given his lads a go for not taking advantage of the numerical advantage as they came out of the break all fired up. He also brought on Olaha for Kalu Nweke in the 47th minute to add bite to the attack.

Abia Warriors started making incursions into their opponents defensive third with a sustained pressure but the Maiduguri boys were resolutely equal to the task. Anything that passed the defence didn't get pass goalkeeper Kazeem Yekeen who was in top form on the day.

In a 10-minute spell, Yekeen made point blank saves from Olaha, Effiong Ndifreke and Chisom Chikatara. Abia Warriors were also wasteful in front of goal as Olaha, Chikatara and Ndifreke also missed glorious opportunities.

The goal did finally come in the 81st minute when Olaha ran into the opponents' box with the ball and fired a fierce shot that beat Yekeen in his near post to give Abia Warriors vital three points and stay unbeaten in two games this season.

5. Lobi Stars FC 2 - 1 Sunshine Stars FC

Lobi Stars recorded their second win in the ongoing Nigeria Professional Football League with Anthony Okpotu's brace in the high tension match at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi.

It was a battle of two Stars, with the home team looking more dangerous on the offensive as Okpotu and Kingsley Eduwo were thorns in the Sunshine Stars' defence line, giving keeper Ezenwa Ikechukwu in goal for the visitors extra activities in keeping the duo from scoring. The keeper was at his best in the 14th minute to stop Gwarza Iorliam's low drive from close range. Ezenwa was called to duty by Okpotu few minutes later when he denied the hosts from scoring.

The resilience of the visitors was finally broken when Okpotu rounded up the defence line of Aremu Afeez and Oke Ogagotewho after receiving a pass from Eduwo and took the risk of taking up the keeper to send the ball to the far corner for the first goal in the 36th minute. The hosts ended the first half with a goal advantage.

On resumption, both sides made some changes to fortify their attacks with Sunshine Stars dictating the pace as Afolabi Okiki continued to mount pressure on the Lobi rear. The visitors got their breakthrough as substitute Emmanuel Sunday converted a corner kick in the 68th minute for the equaliser.

Lobi responded immediately through Okpotu in a counter-attack initiated by Nanen Imenger which found Okpotu free at the edge of the box. He converted a rebound shot which Ezenwa could not hold firmly within two minutes of the equaliser.

Scoring the two goals that gave his side a second from two matches, Okpotu believes that Lobi are the team to beat in the league as the side are more determined under the new management. “We are determined to be at the best of all our matches and I have been training personally to achieve more for the team, though I scored the two goals, the victory is for the entire team as we fought well to maintain a clean sheet so far,” he said.

6. Rangers 3 - 1 Plateau United 

A second half onslaught saw Rangers International come from a goal down to beat visiting Plateau United 3-1 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Following last weekend's heartbreak in Kano, the visitors bruised the already brittle confidence of the Flying Antelopes taking a shock 8th minute lead. But goals from Togaba Komlan, Nnamdi Anyasodo and a third by Chisom Egbuchulam ensured Rangers first three points of the season.

Prior to kickoff, the home team had rewarded fans with last season's match balls as this was their first home game of the season. But the smiling faces soon turned grim when against the run of play, Julius Nuhu was bundled over by Christian Madu 25 yards from goal. John Kim fired towards goal, his strike hit a Rangers defender, wrong footing goalkeeper Bonsou Nana and flying into the bottom corner.

Rangers tried to rally but inspired by their lead, Plateau United sat back in numbers, breaking the hosts' attacks with interceptions and occasional niggling fouls. Godwin Aguda had a chance from a Kokou cross but Innocent Ndem claimed. Aguda went close again this time in the 37th minute but his strike missed the target. Aguda would complete his hat-trick of misses just before the interval when Okey Odita's long range pass found him unmarked at the back post and he fired straight at Ndem.

But Rangers was a different proposition after the interval. Straight from kickoff, former Nigerian Under-20 star, Obinna Nwobodo waltzed into the visitors' area and flashed an effort across the face of goal and while the faintest of touches would have got them level, no one made the vital contact. A minute later, Godwin Aguda fell in the area but the referee rightly booked him for simulation. Osas Okoro was next to go close for the Flying Antelopes but Ndem once more showed safe hands.

The Elisha Golbe-led defence was under intense pressure and it was not surprising when it eventually buckled. Chisom Egbuchulam who had replaced the ineffective Chiamaka Madu minutes earlier, nodded Okoro's cross toward goal and striker Togaba Komlan easily bundled home.

The second soon arrived, 12 minutes after the first. Egbuchulam was allowed time on the left to pick out his man with a nicely weighted cross. Defender Nnamdi Anyasodo rose and coolly guided his header into the top corner giving them the lead. But Rangers were not done. Four minutes later, they got their third. Nwobodo released Egbuchulam yet again and the winger hit first time, firing beyond the visiting goalkeeper.

7. Niger Tornadoes 1 - 1 Giwa FC

The Confluence City of Lokoja was the venue for the game between returnee Niger Tornadoes and Giwa FC. 

Ben Odey was the centre referee for the match. He was assisted by Efosa Igudia and O. Peter with Abel Baba being the 4th official. 

Both teams were involved in exhibitions of good passes and the position was rightly balance in the first half of the game. 

Lukman Mohammed scored a goal inside the injury time of first half (45+1') to give the home team a lead. 

Mohammed's goal was equalised through a brilliant goal scored by David Sunday in the 65th minute, and the scores stood at 1 - 1 after full-time.

Three matches; Akwa United FC vs Ikorodu United FC, Enyimba FC vs Shooting Stars FC and FC Ifeanyi Ubah vs Nasarawa United were postponed due to engagement in continental competitions. It will be played on the 16th of March, 2016.

The match involving Akwa United FC vs Ikorodu United FC was played on Wednesday, 16th March, 2016 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo. It ended 3 - 0 in favour of Akwa United FC. While the other two matches were rescheduled for the second time. New Dates For Rescheduled Fixtures In The 2015/2016 NPFL Season.

Source: NPFL
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Item Reviewed: 2015/2016 NPFL Match Day 2 Reports Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Joseph Etim