The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Super Six playoffs commenced last Saturday at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan in Lagos State. The Championship round will see all six teams play each other once to determine the eventual winners of the 2022/23 league season. All six teams were action in Match day 1 on the day but at different kick-off times.
— NPFL News 🇳🇬 (@NPFL_News) June 3, 2023
The defending champions of the NPFL, Rivers United, lived up to expectation in the first round, as they enjoyed the best start to the playoffs. They were the only team to pick up maximum points on the opening day by defeating Sunshine Stars.
The other two results ended in stalemates; Enyimba played out a 2-2 draw with Remo Stars, while Bendel Insurance got held to a scoreless draw by Lobi Stars. The result meant that Rivers United topped the standings, only five goals were scored, and Bendel Insurance continued their unbeaten run to 19 games, creating a new record in Nigerian football.
A Quick Summary of the NPFL Fixtures
Enyimba vs Remo Stars
Enyimba and Remo Stars was the grand opening match of the Super Six at 2 PM on Saturday.
FT : A feisty fixture finishes on the balance
— Enyimba FC (@EnyimbaFC) June 3, 2023
The first half began with Enyimba on the driving seat and should have gone ahead when Fatai's shot cannoned off the bar in the first 15 minutes. But Remo Stars grew up in the game and became the better side, missing two great chances to have gone 2-0 before the break.
In the second half, against the run of play, Enyimba took the lead through Eriugo, after looking to have scuffed his chance, maintained composure, with his left foot, he drilled into the net in the 60th minute.
“I am happy I finally scored my first goal in the NPFL because that has been my prayer… I wish we won the game because that would have made it more special for me."https://t.co/4TmpAeKUR9
— Enyimba FC (@EnyimbaFC) June 5, 2023
Remo Stars coach, Ogunmodede, disappointed on how his side were down but played better, responded by bringing on former NPFL scorer, Junior Lokosa who within minutes of action tucked home the equalizer after a decent ball across the face of goal in the 77th minute.
With both teams chasing the winner, Mbaoma was brought down at the box as he was racing down to score. Obioma tucked home the ensuing penalty to give Enyimba the lead in the 81st minute.
Enyimba 2-2 Remo Stars; A four goals sensational game🍿
— Remo Stars Sports Club (@RemoStarsSC) June 4, 2023
However, there was still drama in the game, as Enyimba's lack of concentration in added time ensured Remo Stars equalized 90+3 minutes to earn a deserved draw.
Sunshine Stars vs Rivers United
There was little to nothing much in the first half, except that Sochima Victor, Rivers United goalie made a big save to deny Sunshine Stars, and Nyima Nwagua's flick drew a save from the Sunshine Stars' goalkeeper as the first half was winding down.
Last time out at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in the
— Rivers United FC (@RiversUnitedFC) June 5, 2023
In the second half, Rivers United drew first blood in the 64th minute as Gibson was tripped in the box. Chidiebube Duru scored from the penalty box.
Both sides tried to get more goals in the game, but neither side did. It ended 1-0 for Rivers United.
Bendel Insurance vs Lobi Stars
Bendel Insurance and Lobi Stars played out a goalless draw in a match that neither side showed enough firepower to score.
Imade Osarenkhoe had a decent chance to score in the first 10 minutes of the game but his weak shot went straight to the waiting Lobi Stars' goalkeeper hands. Other chances went begging for the Benin city side.
— Bendel Insurance FC Official (@BendelInsurance) June 3, 2023
Lobi Stars themselves had a chance to score in the 41st minute after they surged forward from the left flank and sent in a cross into the box which met the head of their player but Amas Obasogie parried it for a corner.
Both sides made changes in the second half. However, neither side created enough chances to score in the second half as the game entered the 90th minute.
In added time, Bendel Insurance should have won a penalty after their player was fouled as he raced towards the area, but the referee waved play on. A decision the Bendel Insurance side was not impressed with. It ended 0-0.
— Bendel Insurance FC Official (@BendelInsurance) June 4, 2023
Bendel Insurance unbeaten run continues, nevertheless Odigie should be worried about Insurance’s goal-scoring drought if they're to make a significant challenge to their title aspirations and qualification goal for CAF competitions next season.
This article was most recently revised and updated 4 months ago