By Olanrewaju Akojede
Seven times Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) winner, Enyimba International, on Tuesday started on a brighter note in the elite league playoff as they sealed a 1-0 win over arch rivals and another seven times winners, Rangers International FC, at the Agege Stadium, Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lagos state is hosting the NPFL playoff to determine the eventual winners of the 2018/2019 abridged NPFL.
However, in what could be regarded as a competition among the best of the club sides in Nigeria, the playoff had lived up to its reputation with firework displayed on the first day.
The NPFL playoff consists of six top teams from the abridged Group A and B which produced three teams each.
Rangers International FC, Enyimba FC and Lobi Stars emerged from Group A, while Group B had Akwa United FC, Kano Pillars and FC Ifeanyi Ubah.
The opening game between the two seven times champions saw Enyimba FC winning the bragging Oriental Derby match courtesy a 50th solitary goal by Joseph Odiaye.
The Peoples Elephant will be eyeing the eight NPFL crown having won it in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2015 respectively.
The Gbenga Ogunbote-tutored Rangers FC is also chasing same record as they were the League champions in 1974, 1975, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1984 and 2016 respectively.
The second match of the day was a 4-goal thriller encounter between four times League winners, Kano Pillars and Akwa United. The game ended in a stalemated 2-2.
David Ebuka drew the first blood in the 3rd minute, while Effiong Ndifereke equalised for Akwa United FC while Nyima Nwagua and Godspower Anifiok registered their names in the score sheet in the 33rd minute and 37th minute of the game respectively.
The last match of the first day between the defending champions Lobi Stars FC and Ifeanyi Ubah FC, however, ended 3-1 in favour of the later.
Goals from Samad Kadiri 2nd minute, Sikiru Alimi’s 62nd minute and Alex Gtakho’s 85th minute settled the contest, while FC Ifeanyi Ubah got their solitary goal through Tega Ebetomame at the 40th minute.
NAN reports that a faulty Agege Stadium floodlight almost marred the game.