By George Akpayen
Seven-time champions Rangers have continued their fine start to the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) by reclaiming top spot after seeing off Southeast rivals Heartland 2-0 at the Awka Township Stadium on Sunday.
The Flying Antelopes needed a goal in each half to secure their place at the top of the pile after their Matchweek 7 game.
Kazeem Ogunleye set the tone for the full points when he curled in a direct free kick after just two minutes into the match.
Kenneth Igboke scored Rangers’ second goal seven minutes into the second half when he headed home off a rebound after Godwin Obaje’s spot kick was kept out by Heartland goalkeeper Chisom Chiaha. The win takes Rangers’ total points to 13, same as second-placed 3SC who have an inferior goals difference.
Gbenga Ogunbote’s men ran out 4-1 winners against Niger Tornadoes at the Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan.
Ernest Chidi’s goal 10 minutes before the break cancelled Ayobami Adekunle’s strike on 17 minutes to leave 3SC and Tornadoes even after the first 45 minutes.
A second half blitz from 3SC blew Tornadoes apart. Three different goalscorers, Ayodeji Bamidele, Gbolagade Adelowo and Kareem Ayinde made the points more than safe for the Oluyole Warriors. It is the first in 641 calendar days that 3SC will score four goals in a single league match since defeating Heartland 4-0 in February 2, 2022.
Doma United made the Savannah Derby at the Pantami Stadium look one-sided after brushing aside Gombe United 3-0.
Three second half goals from Emmanuel Ekpeyong and Emmanuel Jesam, who scored twice proved sufficient for Doma United to win the first-ever NPFL meeting between both clubs.
Abia Warriors kept their 100 percent home form intact when they defeated Katsina United 2-1 at the Umuahia Township Stadium. Ibrahim Dehinde’s double in the first half put the Warriors in the driving seat.
They however endured a nervy end to the contest when Azeez Falolu scored for Katsina United to trim their lead in the final 10 minutes.
Enyimba and Bendel Insurance scrapped to slim 1-0 wins over Kwara United and Remo Stars. Chijioke Mbaoma’s goal from the spot on 45 minutes was enough for Enyimba while Ismail Sarki for the second season running netted against Remo Stars, who had what could have been their equalized ruled out.
Akwa United’s struggle came to the fore again as they could not break down an organized Plateau United in a 0-0 draw at Eket Stadiu.
At the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt, Alex Oyowah rescued a point for Rivers United deep into added time after 90 minutes to play out a 1-1 draw with Sunshine Stars, who got their noses in front through Duke Osimaga on 52 minutes.
On Monday, Lobi Stars could go top of the standings should they win at Bayelsa United while Sporting Lagos will play hosts to Kano Pillars at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Onikan, Lagos. The game is live on NPFL-Live App.