The build-up towards the last round of the NPFL matches was filled with anticipation, worry and tension, especially amongst supporters of teams in contention for the NPFL Super Six play-offs and those on the verge of suffering relegation into the Nigeria National League (NNL).
The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) returned for Matchday 18 final round on Sunday, May 21, 2023, across 10 centres, which produced some intriguing results. 22 goals were scored across the 10 centres of Matchday 18. Six teams took all three points from their opponents, while four games ended in stalemates. Interestingly, two away wins were recorded.
#NPFL23 Matchday 18 (FINAL DAY of the Regular season):
* 3SC vs Enyimba LIVE on NPFL YouTube & NTA.
Three Super 6 Championship spots are up for grabs, Enyimba, Akwa Utd, Doma Utd, Sunshine Stars & Abia Warriors are in contention.
Which venue(s) will produce the away win(s)? pic.twitter.com/KMfqrRyQNB
— Adepoju Tobi Samuel 🇳🇬 (@OgaNlaMedia) May 21, 2023
The NPFL Results of Matchday 18
Nasarawa United 1-1 Bendel Insurance
Shooting Stars 0-0 Enyimba
Gombe United 0-1 Akwa United
El-Kanemi Warriors 2-2 Plateau United
Remo Stars 4-0 Kwara United
Bayelsa United 2-0 Niger Tornadoes
Sunshine Stars 3-0 Akwa Starlets
Lobi Stars 0-2 Wikki Tourists
Abia Warriors 2-0 Doma United
Enugu Rangers 1-1 Rivers United
The Relegated Teams
Four teams, two each from Group A and B, were relegated at the end of the NPFL regular season.
The North Central club were relegated before the last NPFL matchday. They played out a 1-1 draw with Bendel Insurance on Sunday, which meant Bendel Insurance finished the regular season unbeaten. Nasarawa United recorded three wins and five draws in 18 games, resulting in just 14 points. They lost 10 times, leading to their relegation to the NNL for the next season.
The other relegated team in Group A are the El-Kanemi Warriors, who finished bottom of the table with 10 points. The Maiduguri side registered the least wins (2), least draws (4), and most losses (12). They'll contend with the NNL teams for a way back to the NPFL next season.
The Bauchi club won their last NPFL match of the season away at Lobi Stars 0-2, one of two away wins recorded on the matchday. However, the win was not enough to ensure safety. The team were in a difficult situation going into their bout with Lobi Stars, with only a miracle capable of saving them from relegation. The management must now go back to the drawing board to fashion a way back for the club. They amassed 19 points through five wins and four draws in the NPFL 2022-23 regular season.
Akwa Starlets (Dakkada)
The worst team in Group B finished the NPFL season with 13 points. They picked up three wins and four draws, losing 11 skirmishes. The Uyo side will head to the NNL and regroup for next season's battle with the Second Division teams.
The Super Six Teams
NPFL23 MATCHDAY 18 HIGHLIGHTS.
Nasarawa United 1-1 Bendel Insurance #NASBEN#NPFL23
Adaaaaaaaa BENDEL! pic.twitter.com/T6cIYTTjLl
— Bendel Insurance FC Official (@BendelInsurance) May 22, 2023
Before the penultimate Matchday 18, three teams had already booked their place in the Super Six playoffs. The other three joined after 90 minutes of hostilities on the final day. Bendel Insurance, Rivers United, Remo Stars, Enyimba, Lobi Stars, and Sunshine Stars are the six teams in the NPFL Super Six. These teams will compete for the 2022/2023 NPFL title.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 week ago