NPFL: Katsina bash Gombe, Pillars and Tornadoes play out entertaining draw in Kano

NPFL MD35 – Saturday Results

Match-day 35 of the Nigeria Premier Football League started with a bang, with Katsina United hitting four past a hapless Gombe United at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium.

The Gombe side has effectively been relegated from the NPFL but had some pride to play for, although Katsina United wasn’t going to be bothered.

Kano Pillars vs Niger Tornadoes
Photo by Niger Tornadoes Media

Michael Ibe got them on their way in the 4th minute of the game before Samson Olasupo and in-form striker Andrew Idoko scored twice within five minutes just before the interval.

There was no way back from there for Gombe as Samson Olasupo got his second of the game in the 71st minute to earn his side all three points in a comprehensive 4-0 win.

In Jos, Plateau United had to dig deep before seeing off Kwara United 2-0 at the New Jos Stadium. The result would have flattered the Jos side as Kwara gave as good as they got.

Mbwas Mangut made a raft of changes to his side, with as many as four new players in the starting lineup for the game. Goalkeeper John Amah made his first start in the second round and was able to keep a clean sheet.

Alexander Enejoh scored for Plateau United in the 29th minute with a deft finish, but that was all there was for the first half.

With Kwara prodding for a goal to get the equalizer, Plateau hit them on the break in added time of the second half as Barnabas Daniel scored to make it 2-0.

Kano Pillars and Niger Tornadoes played out an interesting 1-1 draw in Kano, likely the best game on Saturday.

After a goalless first half, Kano Pillars defender Ismaila Nasir put through his own net in the 47th minute to give the visitors the lead.

However, that lead lasted only two minutes when veteran midfielder Rabiu Ali scored the equalizer for the Kano side.

Kano Pillars1-1Niger Tornadoes
Katsina United4-0 Gombe United
Plateau United2-0Kwara United
Lobi Stars3-2Remo Stars
Bayelsa United2-2Sporting Lagos
Abia Warriors0-0Bendel Insurance
Heartland 3-1Doma United
Rivers United1-0Shooting Stars
Sunshine Stars2-0Akwa United
Rangers0-0 *AbandonedEnyimba

Sunday Fixtures

Lobi Stars have been on a free fall recently but will hope to tame Remo Stars when both teams meet at the Lafia City Stadium on Sunday.

Remo is still in the hunt for the title and are just below Rangers on the league table, which means a win in Lafia draws them nearer to a first-ever league title.
Remo Stars
Photo by Remo Stars Media

Lobi lost their last game 2-1 at home to Akwa and will look to make amends against the Ikenne side.

League leaders Rangers welcome current champions Enyimba to Enugu in the biggest clash of the match-day. The game has the potential to swing where the title will be headed.

Rangers are two points ahead of Enyimba on the log and will seek to move further away from the chasing pack, while Enyimba will seek to upset the leaders in their backyard.

Bayelsa United and Sporting Lagos are in a relegation three-pointer in Yenagoa as 17th goes up against 18th.

A win for Bayelsa will see them go on top of Sporting, who will be seeking to escape the drop back to the NNL after promotion this season.

Rivers United are home to another in-form side in Shooting Stars, who are 4th on the log and looking to get into Africa.

The Port Harcourt side has not had a good season and it does not look like they will qualify for continental football.

However, they will hope to finish the league as high as they can.

Sunshine Stars in 15th are still not safe from relegation with one point separating them from the drop zone.

They are at home to Akwa United, who had a shock win over Lobi Stars in their last away trip. They will look to replicate the same against Kennedy Boboye’s side and still be ahead of them after their clash.

Heartland has been relegated from the NPFL but will want to go down with some pride when they host Doma, who themselves are in danger of heading back to the Nigeria National League.

The Owerri side is at the bottom of the log while Doma is 16th, one spot above the relegation zone.
Sunshine Stars
Photo by Sunshine Stars Media

A win for Heartland will definitely soothe a few nerves but it will mean Doma will be on the verge of relegation.

Abia Warriors host Bendel Insurance in Umuahia with both sides effectively safe from relegation and with no hope of qualifying to play on the continent.

Insurance in 8th place and Abia in 13th are basically playing to finish in respectable positions as the league heads towards its climax.

Sunday results

In the early kick-off, Lobi Stars were 3-2 winners over Remo Stars in a highly entertaining game at the Lafia City Stadium

Chris Aniche put Lobi ahead as early as the 6th minute and then towering defender Sunday Chukwu made it two for the Makurdi as they looked to be in cruise control.

Sikiru Alimi then got one back for Remo Stars just before half time to give his side some hope of getting some thing out of the game.

With five minutes left, Stanley Oganbor madee it 3-1 but Sunday Chukwu then put through his own goal to make it a grand stand finish but his side was able to hold on for the three points.

Abia Warriors and Bendel Insurance played out a goalles draw in Umuahia while in Yenagoa, four goals in ten minutes chronicled the 2-2 draw between Bayelsa United in Sporting Lagos.

Jonathan Alukwu scored twice in five minutes in the 65th and 70th minute to race to a 2-0 lead but Bayelsa scored twice in two minutes to tie the game and share the points.

Heartland showed character despite their precarious position by hammering Doma United 3-1 in Owerri.

Promise Anyanwu scored in the 28th minute for the home side but Doma hit back through Emmanuel Jesam to end the first half even.

The home side then went ahead in the 53rd minute through Barnabas and despite going down to ten men when left-bck Divine Ukadike was expelled from the game, Barnabas got his brace and a 3-1 win for Heartland.

Photo by Remo Stars media

Rivers United huffed and puffed before they could beat Shooting Stars who for most of the game were the better side.

Nyima Nwagua's effort 10 minutes after the break was enough to earn his team all the three points.

Sunshine Stars made light work of Akwa United handing them a 2-0 defeat in Akure to ease their relegations worries as Kennedy Boboye will be relieved albeit for a bit.

Ibrahim Yusuf scored a brace in the 74th and 76th minute as Sunshine helped their cause towards avoiding relegation.

The final game of the day between league leaders Rangers and Enyimba was abandoned due to encroachment after a penalty was awarded to Rangers in the dying minutes of the game.

The NPFL is expected to come out with a ruling on Monday based on what occurred at the Cathedral during the game.

NPFL: Katsina bash Gombe, Pillars and Tornadoes play out entertaining draw in Kano
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a veteran Nigerian sports journalist with over 20 years of experience covering the beautiful game across Africa. Andrew served as a Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 Men's National Team for three years, offering a unique perspective on the future stars of Nigerian football.

Beyond reporting, Andrew is a pioneer in sports graphics creation within Nigeria. His expertise extends to sports kit design, making him a true multi-faceted talent in the African sports landscape.

Andrew's experience is vast, with collaborations encompassing prestigious names like Kickoff, SuperSport, the NFF (Nigeria Football Federation), and the NPFL (Nigeria Professional Football League)