NIGERIA’s stadia returned to life over the weekend as the country’s top-flight league, the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), finally kicked off.
The new 23/24 NPFL season offered fans more to enjoy as AI cameras were deployed to stream the matches live.
The ICIR analyses the outcome of the eight games played on the weekend and Monday, which produced 23 goals.
Among the 16 teams featured in the matches, Sporting Lagos, Sunshine Stars, Abia Warriors and Katsina United recorded a clean sheet.
Sunshine Stars 1-0 slim victory against Kano Pillars
The Akure-based team hosted Kano Pillars, who are returning to the elite cadre after spending last season in the Nigeria National League.
After some moments of masterclass show between both teams, Oge Emmanuel’s goal for Sunshine Stars, 10 minutes into the game, secured the maximum three points for the host.
Katsina’s lone goal against Kwara separate teams
Unlike Kano Pillar, the opening matches in the league also saw one of the newly promoted clubs from the second-tier league, Katsina United, confront Kwara United.
The match ended 1-0 in favour of the host.
Shooting Stars edge Plateau United 2-1
Another match on the opening match day was at the Lekan Salami Stadium, where Shooting Stars played host to Plateau United.
The match ended 2-1 in favour of the Oluyole Boys.
Abia Warriors pip Niger Tornadoes
Far from the South-West to the South-East at the Umuahia Township Stadium, Abia Warriors slugged it out against Niger Tornadoes. The match ended 1-0 in favour of the host.
Bayelsa United thrash Akwa-United 5-3 in goal feast
It was a harvest of goals in the South-South derby between Bayelsa United and Akwa United.
The keenly contested match between the duo at the Samson Siasia Stadium recorded eight goals, with Bayelsa United netting five.
Enugu Rangers humble Doma United 2-1
Goals from Ifeanyi Nweke and Austine Onyeamaechi secured the victory for Enugu Ranger against their visitors, Doma United.
Although the visitors’ player, Bidemi Owoku, halved the deficit after scoring a goal, it was not enough for them to cancel their host’s victory.
The match, played at Akwa United Stadium, ended 2-1.
Heartland FC, Lobi stars net two goals apiece
Heartland FC came from behind to equalise against their visitors – Lobi Stars.
The intriguing match saw Lobi Stars score two goals in the first half at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri.
The match progressed as what could be an away win, but the host turned the tables by scoring two goals within 14 minutes to force a draw.
Sporting Lagos overpower Gombe United with 2-0
Sporting Lagos began their campaign in the top-flight league with a victory after defeating Gombe United 2-0.
The match was played at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena.
Due to continental football engagement, two matches were postponed in the match day one. They are:
Enyimba vs Bendel Insurance
Rivers United vs Remo Stars
Bayelsa United lead the table while Sporting Lagos occupy the second with Enugu Rangers in the third position.
Katsina United 1 vs Kwara United 0
Shooting Stars 2 v Plateau 1
Abia Warriors 1 vs Niger Tornadoes 0
Bayelsa United 5 vs Akwa United 3
Enugu Rangers 2 v Doma United 1
Heartland 2 v Lobi Stars 2
Sunshine Stars 1 v Kano Pillars 0
Sporting Lagos 2 v Gombe United 0