NPFL Matchday 23 Report: Plateau Utd own Akure, Okpotu bags Hat-trick

NPFL Matchday 23 Report: Plateau Utd own Akure, Okpotu bags Hat-trick

A total of 16 goals were scored in the eight centres where Matchday 23 games of the Nigeria Professional Football League were played, with Lobi Stars’ game against MFM FC producing four of the goals.

‎League leaders Plateau United were the only team to pick a win away from home, coming from behind to beat troubled Sunshine Stars 2-1 in Akure.

Ezekiel Thompson put the Akure Gunners ahead in the 34th minute. A lead they protected until two minutes after the hour mark when Emmanuel Odafe levelled for Plateau United.

Emeka Umeh scored what ended as the winner for his side, which also led to the sending off of Sunshine Stars goalkeeper David Ariyo who vehemently protested the goal scored by the six feet tall forward.

Plateau United have now opened a five-point lead over the chasing pack at the top of the pile. They now have 42 points from 23 matches.

In Lafia, Adamu Hassan fired a brace to gift Nasarawa United a 2-0 win over hard-fighting Katsina United, but only after he failed to convert from the spot despite having to retake his spot kick.

Goalkeeper Okoli Okoli saved Hassan’s initial spot kick but was adjudged to have moved out of his line before the kick was taken forcing the referee to order a retake, which Hassan sent wide.

Hassan however recovered from the setback and scored the opening goal of the game in the 33rd minute, less than 10 minutes after his penalty miss.

The former former Kano Pillars ace grabbed his brace in the 76th minute striking home a rebound after his initial effort was saved by Okoli.

MFM FC suffered a 1-3 loss to Lobi Stars in Makurdi with Lobi’s top scorer Tony Okpotu scoring a first half hattrick with goals in the 20th, 28th and 31st minute of play.

His first goal came from a thunderous freekick. His second of the game was made possible thanks to a through ball from Sunday Akleche,‎ and he grabbed his third after another well weighted pass from Akleche.

Austine Ogunye scored what ended as a consolation goal for the visitors when he struck home a penalty in the 42nd minute to put scores at 3-1, a score which did not change after regulation time in Makurdi.

However MFM ended the game a man less following the sending off Chuka Uwaga after a foul earned him a second yellow card with five minutes left to play in the game.

Champions of the Nigeria Professional Football League Enugu Rangers were minutes away from picking up a memorable victory in Maiduguri against El-Kanemi Warriors but had to settle for a 1-1 draw.

Rangers took the lead in the 70th minute courtesy of Daniel Etor ‎but with four minutes left to play Aghahowa Otakho cancelled out his effort to deny Rangers all three points.

FC Ifeanyiubah maintained their charge up the table with a 2-0 win over ABS FC courtesy of goals from Yaya Kone and Pascal Seka in the 28th ‎and 57th minutes respectively.

Enyimba FC compounded the woes of struggling Gombe United by holding them to ‎a 1-1 draw although the Peoples Elephant would be disappointed with their inability to pick up all three points.

They failed to hang on to a 55th minute goal scored by Ikechukwu Ibenegbu with Suleiman Usman drawing Gombe United level with ten minutes left to play in the game.

Kano Pillars picked up a valuable point away at Shooting Stars after holding the Ibadan-based side to a 0-0 draw, while in Lokoja a well-taken penalty from Musa Abdullahi Wakili in the 11th minute helped Niger Tornadoes beat Rivers United 1-0.

Matchday 23 continues on Thursday with Abia Warriors hosting Remo Stars while the game between Akwa United and Wikki Tourists has been rescheduled for next Wednesday.

By npfl

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