BY GODWIN AIKIGBE
Nigeria champions Plateau United began their title defence with a shout, edging Nasarawa United 1-0 in a Nigeria Professional Football League matchday 1 tie in Lafia on Sunday.
Substitute Raphael Ayagwa struck on 87 minutes, stunning the home crowd with an excellent goal that gave the Kennedy Boboye’s team a deserved victory on the road.
In another fixture at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, home team Akwa United broke Rangers jinx, inflicting a 2-0 defeat on the Flying Antelope.
Debutant Kelly Kester broke the dock on 40 minutes following an assist by another debutant Victor Mbaoma while Dennis Nya doubled the lead on 67 minutes.
Last season’s runners-up and CAF Champions League representatives MFM FC were subdued 2-0 by Abia Warriors in another keenly contested tie at Umuahia Township Stadium.
Both goals were scored by Ndifreke Effiong, who put the victors in the lead by stabbing home the rebound on 52 minutes after Obi Samson’s initial effort was blocked. He made it a brace on 66 minutes following an assist by Asiegbu from a corner kick.
While the rest of the fixtures ended in marginal wins for the home sides, the new boys were denied the victory song. Heartland played out a barren draw against Sunshine at Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri, Kwara United were stunned 2-0 at home by Niger Tornadoes, Yobe Stars lost 2-1 to FCIfeanyiUbah in Nnewi while Wikki Tourist edged Go Round 1-0 in Bauchi.
MATCHDAY 1 RESULTS
SAT 13 JANUARY
Katsina Utd 2-2 Kano Pillars
SUN 14 JANUARY
Kwara 0-2 Tornadoes
FCIU 2-1 Yobe Stars
Wikki 1-0 Go Round
Akwa 2-0 Rangers
Lobi 1-1 Enyimba
Heartland 0-0 Sunshine
Nasarawa 0-1 Plateau
Rivers 1-0 El-Kanemi
Abia Warriors 2-0 MFM