The opening weekend of the Nigeria Professional Football League saw the champions humiliated in Port Harcourt while former winners Kano Pillars began their title pursuit in promising style. The NPFL newcomers were also full of surprises in a record breaking Match Day 1.
SoccerNet Nigeria brings you all the actions from a weekend that boasted an unprecedented 4 away wins, a meager 3 home wins and 17 fine goals.
PLATEAU UNITED 2-1 NIGER TORNADOES
Plateau United started their Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season on a bright note, edging fellow league newbies Niger Tornadoes 2-1 on Saturday at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos.
The Jos-based team broke the deadlock in the 17th minute of the encounter through Charles Okafor’s header courtesy Bala’s corner kick but Niger Tornadoes’ Kunle Issa blasted in the equalizer halfway into the second half a few minutes after failing to convert a glorious chance.
However United were not to be denied victory though, when another Bala corner-kick presented Ibeh Johnson a simple tap-in chance from a goalmouth scramble, three minutes before full time.
GIWA FC 0-1 FC IFEANYI UBAH
High-spending Ifeanyi Ubah disciplined their guests in front of their teeming supporters, while showing them how the beautiful game is played.
An early first half goal was all the visitors needed to grab a first away win at the home of their fierce rivals.
Seka Pascal’s goal on 2 minutes was the difference in Jos as Giwa FC simply could not muster enough resources to grab an equalizer.
NASARAWA UNITED 1-2 MFM FC
It was a great start to life in the top division for newcomers Mountain of Fire Ministries (MFM) FC at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi, as they humbled CAF Confederation Cup campaigners, Nasarawa United, 1-2 to take all three points in their first-ever match in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
MFM FC took a surprise 18th-minute lead when Musa Newman scored from a goalmouth scramble. They were not done though as Chukwuma Emmanuel, who had been a thorn in the flesh of United’s defence, found himself one-on-one with Danlami Umar in goal for United, and his finish was clinical.
The Solid Miners reduced the deficit in the 75th minute through Ifeanyi Nweke’s well-taken goal but the comeback could not be completed despite being presented with so many scoring chances.
RIVERS UNITED 1-0 ENYIMBA
Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions, Enyimba, began the defence of their title on a disappointing note, losing by a lone goal away to Rivers United of Port Harcourt at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium on Sunday.
Frederick Obomate got the only goal of the pulsating encounter in the 65th minute, through a free kick, in a game characterized with brilliant saves by both goalkeepers.
SHOOTINGS STARS 0-1 LOBI STARS
Ibadan fans were forced to watch their darling but unimpressive home team succumbed to a lone goal defeat at the hands of the visitors from Makurdi.
A first half goal by Lobi’s Stars’ Kingsley Eduwo after just 15 minutes of action silenced the vociferous home supporters and guided the visitors to an unexpected win in Ibadan.
SUNSHINE STARS 1-1 AKWA UNITED
Akwa United were forced to play the last half hour with a man short and would be the more pleased of the two teams at the outcome of a game that witnessed just two first half goals and points shared.
The Akure giants sorely missed the goal-scoring boots of Prince Aggrey – who joined Kano Pillars – and Tunde Adeniji – who made a move abroad – as they could only manage a one-all draw against 10-man Akwa United.
Okiki Afolabi gave the hosts the lead on 12 minutes but exactly 12 minutes later, Akwa United were back on level terms when Friday Ubong banged in the crucial equalizer.
Igudia would receive his marching orders after getting a second booking for indecent play, with 65 minutes on the clock.
However, Sunshine Stars could not capitalize on their numerical advantage as the Maurice Cooreman-tutored side defended stoutly.
IKORODU UNITED 1-1 ABIA WARRIORS
The newcomers stood up to their more illustrious foes for much of the contest and came close to snatching all the three points but for their inexperience in front of goal.
Ndifreke Effiong opened the scoring for Abia Warriors at the Onikan Stadium but Ikorodu United came out smoking in the second half and barely four minutes after the restart, they were back in the game. Agbane with the equalizer.
EL-KANEMI WARRIORS 0-1 WIKKI TOURISTS
The Bauchi-based side disgraced the Warriors at home in a match that was as entertaining as it was drama packed.
After a goalless opening half, Wikki edged in front with a Godwin Obaje goal with 20 minutes of play left.
Tourists were able to resist everything El-Kanemi threw at them to depart for Bauchi with all three points in the kitty.
HEARTLAND FC 0-0 WARRI WOLVES
Heartland FC endured a frustrating afternoon on the opening day of the 2015/2016 Nigeria Professional Football League season.
The Naze Millionaires were battled to a stalemate by visiting Warri Wolves in front of an appreciable crowd at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri.
KANO PILLARS 2-1 RANGERS
In the game of the two titans, Mai Su Gida came from a goal down and netted a last gasp winner to get the better of the easterners.
After a drab first 45, the game sparked to life in the second with Rangers grabbing lead. Madu was the goal-scorer, nodding Rangers in front from close range in the 50th minute.
But Kano Pillars were not to be denied at home as Gambo Mohammed pounced on an assist from Adamu Hassan to side-foot past Rangers keeper, with just over ten minutes remaining in the game.
It looked as if the game was destined to end in a draw but Prince Aggrey had other ideas. Pillars latest import from Sunshine Stars, one of the standout performers of last season, showed why his new side shelled top cash to secure his services by scoring a stunner with virtually the last kick of the game to complete the turnaround for the homers.