Kano Pillars started off their season-opening clash with a 2-2 draw at the Nigerian Professional Football League in the only Saturday clash at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium, home of the Pillars.
The North-West derby began well for the former NPFL champions who started on the front foot with Junior Lokosa breaking the deadlock few minutes to the end of the first half.
Pillars striker Lokosa struck in the 33rd minute despite being denied in the opening minutes of a clean shot by Katsina goalkeeper Dami Paul.
The forward expertly finished off a sensational pass from Victor Denis to render United’s netminder Paul helpless.
The hosts were reduced by referee Sani Mohammed to ten men just on the stroke of first half time after first goal assist provider Denis wrongly placed two-footed challenge met Eric Gwammy on the leg.
That quickly gave the visitors to earn an equalizer deep into the extra minutes of the first half as Chinedu Ajanah leveled up proceedings with a well-calculated header after a nicely delivered free-kick from Destiny Ashadi.
Meanwhile, Pillars showed a stunningly dominating display as though they were not numerically disadvantaged.
The Kano-based outfit continued their fine display past the hour mark, and that paid off after Alassane Ibrahim restored their lead with a belter.
That lead could have only lasted for 20 minutes but for the sensational display from the goalkeeper, David obiazo kept out a spot-kick poorly delivered by Muhammed Hussaini.
Meanwhile, the lead could not be held onto past 30 minutes as outstanding Ashadi restored Katsina United back into the game to make each side share the spoils.
Holders Plateau United will start their title defense on Sunday when they travel to Nasarawa to play visitors to Nasarawa United.
Other fixtures are Abia Warriors lock horn with last season runners-up MFM FC, while Akwa United play Rangers International;
Heartland FC plays Sunshine Stars FC as Aba-based Ifeanyi Ubah travel to Northeast Yobe to face newly promoted Yobe Stars.
Kwara United will welcome Niger Tornadoes while Lobi Stars host former African champions Enyimba with Rivers United also welcoming visiting El-Kanemi Warriors while newly promoted Go Round FacC make a trip to Wikki Tourists.
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