NPFL Playoff: Akwa hold Pillars as Enyimba pip Rangers

NPFL By: Ikponmwosa Umweni | 05/06/2019

Akwa United hold Kano Pillars in thrilling contest after a 2-2 draw in their Nigeria Professional Football League Championship playoff tie at the Agege Stadium as Enyimba pip Rangers 1-0 in the opener.

While defending champions Lobi Stars started their campaign on a winning note by edging out FC IfeanyiUbah 3-1 in a thrilling contest.

David Ebuka gave Kano Pillars the lead in the third minute of the keenly contested encounter before Ndifreke Effiong equalize for Akwa United a minute after the half-hour mark.

Pillars went ahead again three minutes later courtesy of a fine strike by Nyima Nwagua but Godspower Aniefiok grabbing the equaliser in the 37th minute for the Uyo based team.

Enyimba defeated oriental rivals, Enugu Rangers 1-0 in the opening game after Joseph Osadiaye scored the winning goal for the Peoples Elephant five minutes after the break.

Enyimba dominated the opening exchanges but failed to break down their opponents defence as Ikechukwu Ibenegbu came close to breaking the deadlock when he hit the woodwork a minute before the break.

The former Warri Wolves winger put Enyimba ahead in the 50th minute of the encounter as Osadiaye got the better of his marker before blasting a shot into the net but Rangers fought hard afterwards but were unable to find the equaliser.

Lobi Stars beat FC IfeanyiUbah 3-1 in a thrilling contest at the Agege Stadium as prolific forward Samad Kadiri gave the Markudi side a dream start when he scored the opening goal in the second minute.

Kadiri rifled home a shot from close range after a deflected Kelly Kester pass put him through on goal but Tega Ebetomame equalised for FC IfeanyiUbah late in the first half.

Samad Kadiri got his second of the night on the hour mark after a delightful pass from Sikiru Alimi but his first attempt came off the foot of the post but he was alert enough to fire home the rebound.

Alimi netted a brilliantly executed overhead kick from 16 yards in the 63rd minute to extend to seal the win for Lobi Stars to stand on top of  the log table with three points, same as second placed Enyimba who have an inferior goal difference.

Matchday Two Thursday, June 6

Akwa United v  FC IfeanyiUbah 3pm

Lobi Stars v Rangers 5pm

Kano Pillars v Enyimba 7pm