It was a goal fest as the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) 2021/22 season MatchDay 1 which started on Friday continued with eight other matches concluded. The 10th fixture between Sunshine Stars and Wikki Tourists will be played on Monday in Ijebu Ode.
In Uyo, champions, Akwa United started its title defence in style after a 3-0 home thrashing of former champions Kano Pillars at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.
Winger Ezekiel Bassey gave the Promise Keepers the lead just before halftime before second half goals from Stephen Chukwude and Friday Ubong sealed victory for the reigning champions.
In Makurdi, last season’s runner up, Rivers United started its 2022 campaign with an away 1-1 draw against Lobi Stars.
Rabiu Kayode Ishaq silenced the home crowd at the Aper Aku Stadium when he handed The Pride of Rivers the lead in the 27th minute but Barnabas Imenger Junior equalized just after half time as both teams shared the spoils.
In Aba, record champions Enyimba started its campaign with a 2-1 win over local rivals Abia Warriors.
The derby was set alive in the 34th minute when new signing Ekene Awaziem handed the People’s Elephant the lead but the Warriors equalized in the 50th minute through Paul Samson. However, it was another new signing Chinedu Obasi who scored the winner in the 77th minute for Enyimba who are now on an eight-match unbeaten run against Abia Warriors.
Kwara United also recorded a harvest of goals in Ilorin as it began its season in style, brushing aside Dakkada FC 3-0 at the Kwara State Sports Complex.
A brace in either half from Stephen Jude and a debut goal for Junior Lokosa ensured the Harmony Boys started the season with a win.
In Katsina, it was a winning start for NPFL giants, Enugu Rangers as it held on to a 1-2 away win at the Mohammed Dikko Stadium.
The Flying Antelopes took the lead in the 13th minute thanks to a goal from Ossy Martins in his first competitive game. The hosts, Katsina United clawed back through Salisu Mustapha.
It was Rangers that would have the last laugh as Ossy Martins completed his brace in the 54th minute. The former NPFL champions ended the match with ten men after goalkeeper Mutawakilu Seidu was sent off for a second bookable offense.
In Owerri, it was goals galore as Heartland and Nasarawa United played out an exciting 3-3 draw at the Dan Ayam Stadium.
Heartland’s goals were scored by Ikenna Stephen (41st), Nwaodu Chukwudi (48th), and new signing Chinedu Ohanachom (67th) while Nasarawa United’s goals were scored by Agibola Otegbeye (15th and 42nd) and Abubakar Abdullahi (76th).
In an early kickoff fixture played in Ilorin, newcomers, Niger Tornadoes upset former champions, Plateau United in a 1-0 win.
The all-important goal was scored by Kabir Adeneji in the 13th minute in what was a memorable return to the NPFL for Tornadoes.
Elsewhere, new boys Gombe United and Shooting Stars of Ibadan played out a goalless draw.
NPFL Matchday one concludes tomorrow with one match as Sunshine Stars take on Wikki Tourists
Gombe Utd 0-0 3SC
Akwa Utd 3-0 Kano Pillars
Lobi 1-1 Rivers Utd
Katsina Utd 1-2 Rangers
Enyimba 2-1 Abia Warriors
Kwara Utd 3-0 Dakkada
Heartland 3-3 Nasarawa Utd
Tornadoes 1-0 Plateau United
MFM FC 0-2 Remo Stars
Sunshine Stars v Wikki Tourists