By George Akpayen

Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) title-holders Enyimba climbed to the top of the standings following a 4-0 thrashing of Gombe United at the Enyimba Stadium in Aba on Thursday.

In a matchday that produced 25 goals in total, the People’s Elephant dismissed their opponents despite having 21 goal attempts including 12 on target.

Chijioke Mbaoma helped himself to a brace of goals within 60 minutes before Uche Collins came off the bench to score and Imo Obot netted the fourth at the death to seal a big win for the champions.

Finidi George’s men were on the front foot from kickoff but failed to breach Gombe United’s defence. The visiting side however had the first real chance when Ahmed Jimoh was left with goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo to beat but aimed his attempt over the post on 17 minutes.

On 28 minutes, Mbaoma should have put Enyimba in front but failed to get enough purchase on a cross, allowing Gombe United goalkeeper Itodo Akor to gather easily.

Two minutes later Mbaoma was once again guilty of failing to score. He was played through on goal for a one-on-one with Akor who spread himself to keep out the striker’s effort at point blank range.

Five minutes before the break, it was Chidiebere Nnachi’s turn to miss. He evaded his marker in the box and fired his shot over.

On 45 minutes, Mbaoma converted from the spot to put Enyimba in the lead after he was brought down by Nicholas Jonathan in Gombe United’s box.

Finidi’s men continued the second 45 in same attitude. Eleven minutes into the restart, a defensive error gifted Nnachi the ball in one-on-one with Akor who fouled him while the ball rolled into the path of Mbaoma to pass into an empty net for Enyimba’s second.

Akor would then fail to deal with a free kick properly to allow Collins to score from close range on 70 minutes.

On the stroke of full-time, Obot curled in a direct free over Gombe United’s wall and past Akor to put the icing on the cake for a big win for the champions who now have 39 points, same as second-placed Lobi Stars with an inferior goals difference.

Also, on Thursday, Abia Warriors and Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) claimed slim 1-0 wins over Kwara United and Bendel Insurance respectively.

Sunday Megwo netted the goal that turned out to be the winner for Warriors on 53 minutes while 3SC needed a late Taiye Murtala goal inside added time to edge past Insurace.


The six games on Wednesday produced 19 goals with Plateau United hitting five at Heartland in a 5-1 win. Interestingly in the reverse in October of 2023 Plateau United managed a 1-0 win over their hosts at the New Jos Stadium.

Wednesday was different as Plateau United raced into a two-goal lead inside the opening 20 minutes through Olawale Doyeni and Lawrence Agbor.

Plateau United goalkeeper Suraj Ayeleso kept out a spot kick from Promise Anyanwu before halftime. And normal service resumed after the break for Plateau United as Nenrot Silas scored a third on 47 minutes.

Victor Makalala and Harrison Ebah rounded off the scoring late in the contest on 88 and 90 minutes respectively. In added time, Onyekachi Okafor got one back for Heartland who remain rooted at the bottom of the standings.

The Northwest Derby between Katsina United and Kano Pillars was a five-goal thriller. Katsina United edged their rivals by the odd with Jonas Emmanuel, Azeez Falolu and Nazifi Yahaya scoring their goals. Ibrahim Mustapha Yuga and Mustapha Umar netted for Pillars.

Bayelsa United and Sunshine Stars saw off Doma United and Lobi Stars by identical scorelines of 2-0. Ekeson Okorie’s double ensured Bayelsa United move further away from relegation places as they extend their run of good results to five games without defeat. Temitope Vincent and Chigozie Iwundu scored first half goals to help Sunshine Stars beat Lobi in Akure.

At the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu, Kenechukwu Agu sealed a 1-0 victory for Rangers through a direct free kick on 56 minutes against Remo Stars.

For Akwa United, their poor run of form continued in Lagos where Sporting Lagos came from behind to win 2-1. Tochukwu Michael scored two late goals inside the final 10 minutes to cancel Suleiman Sani’s goal for Akwa United.

David NPFL
February 29, 2024
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