NPFL Review: Rivers United Return to Winning Ways as Bendel Stay Unbeaten

NPFL Review: Rivers United Return to Winning Ways as Bendel Stay Unbeaten
Rivers United returned to winning ways in the NPFL

The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) returned with Matchday 17 action on Sunday, May 7th. 10 games were played across 10 stadiums in Nigeria, each producing thrill and drama. 24 goals were scored across the 10 matches, with seven teams collecting maximum points and three games ending in a draw.

Two Away Wins

It is difficult for visiting teams to win away from home in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). However, Matchday 17 produced two away wins, as Remo Stars and Sunshine Stars took home on their travels.

Remo Stars visited Super Six hopefuls Plateau United at the New Jos Stadium on Sunday evening. It was the last home game for Plateau United, with fans expecting a positive showing from their team. The first half of the encounter ended goalless, with the first goal coming in the 70th minute.

Saidu Salisu's strike inside the box gave the home side the lead but 11 minutes later, Remo Stars restored parity through Adams Olamilekan. The Highlanders pushed to retake the lead, but the Ikenne outfit emerged victorious. Adedayo Olamilekan's long-range strike in the 88th minute sealed the victory for the visitors, who moved up to third with 30 points. Plateau United dropped to fifth place with 25 points in the Group A NPFL table.

The other away win in the NPFL Matchday 17 went the way of the Sunshine Stars. Niger Tornadoes hosted the Akure side at the Minna Township Stadium. Goals from David Onovo and Yusuf Ibrahim on either side of the half gave the visitors victory over the Minna-based club.

The Other Teams That Won in the NPFL

Rivers United resumed domestic hostilities as they welcomed their close neighbours Bayelsa United to Port Harcourt. It was a challenging encounter as both teams tested each other's resolve. The deadlock was broken 43 minutes into the first half, with a Mohammed Shiraz goal putting Rivers United in front.

However, Bayelsa United levelled through a well-taken Tekena Garando penalty in the 57th minute, but Rivers United restored their lead in the 75th minute to seal the win. They move within four points of Group B leaders Lobi Stars.

Elsewhere in Aba, Enyimba recorded the biggest win of Matchday 17, thrashing Gombe United 5-0 at the Enyimba International Stadium. NPFL's leading goal scorer, Emeka Obioma, got three of the five goals.

Wikki Tourists put Abia Warriors to the sword with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over the eastern club. Three first-half goals put the result beyond doubt, as an own goal from Abia Warriors in the 85th minute sealed the victory for Wikki Tourists. It was a vital win as the Tourists are battling relegation with two matches left for them.

In another encounter, Akwa United hosted already relegated El-Kanemi Warriors at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium. Two goals from the home side on either side of the half brought the Uyo club within a point behind the top three, ahead of the last game of the regular season.

Lastly, the relegation battle between Kwara United and Nasarawa United ended with Kwara United defeating the Lafia outfit. An 82nd-minute goal from Ibrahim Yahaya was all Kwara United needed to survive relegation.

Three Games Ended in a Draw

Bendel Insurance conceded an 89th-minute goal to draw 1-1 with Shooting Stars. The result extended the Group A leaders' unbeaten streak to 17 games.

Relegated Dakkada played out another 1-1 of the day with current Group B table toppers, while playoff hopefuls Doma United, could not win as Enugu Rangers ensured they went home with a point.

This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago

Chandan is a passionate writer, editor, and marketer with a love for football. He has bylines in leading online publications and has worked with renowned sports brands like The Olympics, Fox Sports Asia, and the Indian Super League (ISL). As for the unimpressive part, he loves Chelsea.