Nigeria Premier League week 1 round up

China Acheru

Dolphins captain, Emma Godwin (white) keeping Plateau's
 Ibrahim Juba in check
The Nigeria Premier League finally kicked off on Saturday in Kaduna with the star game between Kaduna United and Kano Pillars.

About ten thousand people turned up to watch the game that ended 1-1.

Kano Pillars set the tone for the afternoon when Rabiu Ali struck inside half an hour of the game before Siman Yusuf levelled the game just eight minutes before the break.

Kano Pillars showed no sign of missing Ahmed Musa after Ali was played on from a flick before he unleashed a powerful left drive to beat goalkeeper Richard Ochayi after a great start to the game.

Head coach of Kano Pillars, Salisu Yusuf said after the game that a draw was good for him.

“I am happy with the draw. Normally every first game of the season is difficult, especially when it is an away match.

“But to pick a point in the first away match is no mean feat. We are surely going to improve on the performance.

“By the time we played up to three matches, the team would have picked up. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that we have the crop of players that will make us proud this season,” Salisu boasted.

In Jos on Sunday, Dolphins grabbed the first away win of the 2010/11 Premier League season beating Plateau United 1-0.

In the 8th minute of the game, Owusu Addae controlled a back heeled pass from Emma Nwachi and slotted behind David Obiazor in goal for Plateau.

The second half of the match totally belonged to Plateau United and Dolphins would have to thank their goalkeeper, Sunday Rotimi for keeping the home side at bay with wonderful saves made especially four at point blank range.

Dolphins manager, Stanley Eguma said after the match that the win excites him just like every one should. He added that the fact that he was up against his assistant for five years, Ndubuisi Nduka was enough to unsettle him.

“Yes, Nduka assisted me for five years at Heartland, Sharks and now Dolphins and I knew he knew almost all my tricks so I had to change strategy and play players in positions they had never played while he was with us.

“For example Bilamo Yabrifa had always played in full back and only once at Defensive midfield but I used him as a defensive midfielder. Then again he would have expected that I play Osita Echendu in defensive midfield but I pushed him up front. I’m glad it worked for us.”

His opposite number, Nduka Ndubuisi was sad about the loss but hoped his side would shake it off and start winning soon.

“We are a young side and games like these can kill morale of players. But I will be talking to them and I hope they shake off this disappointment as soon as possible so we can start winning again,” Nduka said.

In Aba, champions, Enyimba laboured to a 1-0 win over Ocean Boys, a 35th minute strike by John Chukwudi.

Enyimba had a penalty in their favour later in the game but Josiah Maduabuchi shot into the hands of Olufemi Thomas to keep scores at 1-0.

Enugu provided the highest scoring game of the week as five goals were scored between Rangers and Lobi Stars.

Fred Okwara opened his season’s account in the 15th minute but Kingsley Odoh equalised on 35 minutes.

Terna Ikpeen, Lobi Stars against Rangers
duo of Uche Nwofor & Stephen Adah.

One minute before the break, it was Ejike Uzoenyi who made it 2-1 to Rangers but Odoh got his brace when he silenced the few fans in Enugu in the 53rd minute.

With Lobi Stars probably celebrating their draw, Brendan Ogbu powered home and effort in the 92nd minute.

Gombe United showed no mercy to Heartland managed by Samson Siasia.

Rafiu Salawudeen (38th) and Ifeanyi Okoro (52) gave all points to the home side, Gombe United.

Ghanaian import, James Amankwei was the villain of Port Harcourt as he broke the heart of Sharks faithful scoring and equaliser in the 90th minute of the match for JUTH against Sharks after Victor Ezeji had put the hosts ahead in the 76th minute.

In Offa, newly promoted Bukola Babes could only manage it 0-0 against Zamfara United while Baba Sule’s 15th minute strike gave Niger Tornadoes a 1-0 win against Crown.

In Warri, Emmanuel Omodiagbe scored in the 82nd minute against Kwara United and it ended Warri 1-0 Kwara United.

Another brace in the League was witnessed in Ibadan as Shooting Stars came from behind to beat Sunshine Stars 2-1.

Akombo Ukeyima put Sunshine ahead in the 6th minute but Gbolahan Salami equalised one minute into the second half.

Salami got his brace and the winner for Shooting when he converted a penalty in the 91st minute.
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