NPFL: Insurance unbeaten, Akwa United dim Shooting Stars, Sunshine keep Super 6 hope alive
Bendel Insurance have maintained their unbeaten run in the abridged Nigeria Premier Football League season thanks to Imade Osaranekhoe’s late goal.
Insurance, Group A leaders, travelled to Aba to face eight-time champions Enyimba in their opening game of the second stanza of the NPFL on Sunday afternoon at Enyimba Stadium in the biggest match of the week.
It was coach Finidi George’s boys who took the lead just one minute before halftime after Chukwuemeka Obioma converted a penalty before Imade grabbed a late equaliser from a direct freekick in the 80th minute to rescue a point for the visitors.
Image’s goal, his seventh of the campaign, became the first Enyimba had conceded at home in the entire season as Bendel Insurance remain top of the group with 24 points while the Elephants are fourth with 17 points, tied with Plateau United but latter have a superior goal difference.
Also in Group A, second-placed Akwa United defeated Shooting Stars 2-0 at home to solidify their hope for a place in the Super 6, the mini tournament will crown the season’s eventual champions.
The top three teams from each group will advance to the tournament.
Ubong Friday opened the scoring for the Promise Keepers in the 53rd minute with a terrific shot at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium before Taiye Muritala sealed the victory for Akwa United two minutes later with a thunderbolt.
Meanwhile in Group B, Sunshine Stars left it late to secure a last-gasp equaliser away in Bauchi against Wikki Tourists with team’s head coach Edith Agoye keen on a Super 6 ticket for the Owena Waves.
Wikki’s captain Idris Guda put the hosts upfront five minutes into the second half from the spot. But Samson Olasupo scored in the 86th minute to salvage a point for the visitors with Sunshine Stars keeping the last Super 6’s spot for the group with 16 points.
The same scoreline was recorded in Port Harcourt where Morice Chukwu’s 90th-minute strike saved defending champions Rivers United from what would have been a shocking defeat to Abia Warriors at home.
In the 48th minutes at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Abia Warriors took a surprising lead against the hosts via Nweke Kalu and were close to a victory until they were denied by Morice in the last minute of the match to rescue a point for the Pride of Rivers.
Despite the disappointing result, Rivers United remain top of Group B standings with 19 points and five-goal difference, an identical stat as that of second-placed Lobi Stars, who lost their tie 2-0 to Doma United on Saturday.
Daniel Barnabas and Maurice Chigozie were the goalscorers for the NPFL newcomers in the encounter.
Full NPFL Matchday 10 results
Enyimba 1-1 Bendel Insurance
Remo Stars 1-0 Nasarawa United
Akwa United 2-0 Shooting Stars
Kwara United 2-0 El Kanemi
Plateau United 2-0 Gombe United
Rangers 2-1 Bayelsa United
Rivers United 1-1 Abia Warriors
Dakkada 1-2 Tornadoes
Wikki Tourists 1-1 Sunshine Stars
Doma United 2-0 Lobi Stars