The Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) is getting into its stride, and week three matches showed the competition is getting keener and more competitive.
After two weeks of action, the NPFL table is taking shape, with some curious insights into what has transpired.
So far, the difference between the top teams and those in the relegation zone is little. Of course, the season just kicked off, and there’s still plenty to play for.
Despite what the table looks like now, there is not much to hang on to there as the tide could change at any time. After all, it is the NPFL, arguably the most exciting league in Africa.
Let us delve into the highlights of week three action of the 2023/24 NPFL season.
Bendel Insurance remains unbeaten in the NPFL
The top game of the week was the one at Aba, where Enyimba hosted the Promise Keepers. As expected, the game lived up to the billing with thrills and excitement.
As we said in the Enyimba vs Akwa United preview, it was fierce and intense, with plenty of goals.
Perhaps one might not have expected the flurry of goals, but it added to the excitement of a budding rivalry.
The People’s Elephant defeated the Promise Keepers, but nigh blew it after blowing a two-goal lead.
GOALS of THE DAY
Enyimba's 2nd and 3rd goals in their 3-2 win over Akwa United yesterday.
— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) October 16, 2023
Bendel Insurance continued the league form of last season. They now have two wins from as many games to sit comfortably atop the NPFL log.
There are only two teams yet to concede a goal this season. The Benin Arsenal is one of them. The other is Sporting Lagos.
Against Plateau United, it took them just 15 minutes to wrap up the game. A 15th-minute penalty tucked away nicely by Benjamin Tianimu after Austin Ogunye was upended in the box was enough to give Insurance all three points.
It leaves the Tin City boys with three points from as many games.
Kano Pillars slip again, now in the bottom three
Many expected Kano Pillars against Abia Warriors to leave Umuahia with at least a point, but the Sai Masu Gida returned to Kano empty-handed.
Following their win over Katsina United, there was confidence within the ranks that they could get something against the Ochendo Babes, but their efforts fell to nought.
On a pitch that was in a poor state, a 31st-minute strike by Stanley Megwo was enough for an Abia Warriors victory.
Kano Pillars will now seek to redeem themselves in their next clash, where they host Rivers United at the Sani Abacha Stadium on October 22.
Benjamin Tanimu's 15th-minute penalty goal separates both sides in the first 45 minutes.
Teams in the dressing rooms for halftime talks.
— Bendel Insurance FC (@BendelInsurance) October 14, 2023
NPFL Week Three Analysis
After matches in week three, Bendel Insurance is atop the log with six points from two games and is closely followed by Enugu Rangers, who have the same points but have played one game more.
Other teams with six points are Abia Warriors, Shooting Stars and Remo Stars, who recorded the only away win this weekend.
There were four draws and one away win. Bendel Insurance is not the only unbeaten side in the NPFL this season. Newly promoted Sporting Lagos also continued their unbeaten run as they drew 0-0 with Doma United at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena.
Lobi Stars are also unbeaten. They drew 0-0 with Katsina United to take their season’s tally to five points.
Enyimba vs Akwa United was the highest-scoring tie with five goals. In all, no team won by more than a goal margin.
Malomo Taofeek Ayodeji of Shooting was the highest-scoring player this weekend. He hit a brace in their 2-1 win over Gombe United. They were his first goals this season.
Robert Mizo (Bayelsa United) remains the top scorer with three goals, but Taofeek Ayodeji has joined the fray of contenders for the Golden Boot.
Bayelsa United has the most goals this season with six, while Rangers, Akwa United and Lobi Stars trail with five.
On the flip side, Akwa United sit bottom of the table and has conceded eight goals and is trailed by Bayelsa United with seven.
— Rangers International FC (@EnuguRangersFC) October 16, 2023
NPFL 2023/24 Week 3 results
S. Megwo 31′
1 – 0
O. Ekeson 88′
1 – 2
A. Olamilekan 4′
A. Sikiru 78′
J. Odoh 17′
G. Obaje 43
2 – 1
B. Usman 54′
G. Innocent 13′
M. Chijioke 15′
A. Somiari 69′
3 – 2
K. Ebong 45 + 3′
D. Philip 67′
0 – 0
M. T. Ayodeji 49′, 88′
2 – 1
A. Bala 10′
0 – 0
B. Tanimu PEN 15′
1 – 0
0 – 0
M. Olalusi PEN 40′
1 – 1
P. Nwogbaga 74′
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago