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Rivers United start with win as four away wins headline epic Nigeria League opener

NPFL returns with a bang

Unforgettable scenes rocked the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) opening day of the 2022-2023 season following the fantastic results across the two groups of the abridged league. 

The enterprising start to the new campaign got off a week with a surprise 2-0 victory for newly-promoted Bendel Insurance away at Akwa United last weekend before the goal-laden matches.

First half goals from Imade Osehenkhoe and Ismael Seriki helped the Insurance condemned the 2021 Nigerian league champions to a losing campaign start at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium.

In Port Harcourt, Rivers United started their title defence on a good note as they secured a 2-1 victory over Lobi Stars, with the Cup holders gaining the lead through Morice Chukwu in the 16th minute.

After the first half, the defending champions suffered a mere setback as visiting Lobi Stars fought back 10 minutes into the second half when Umar Abba netted an equaliser before Kenechukwu Augustine Agu notched the late winner from a penalty kick nine minutes from time.

Also in Ikenne, Remo Stars were another side to secure a comfortable home victory as they beat visiting El Kanemi 2-0. Samuel Anakwe opened scoring in the 30th minute before Ezekiel Edidong doubled the lead three minutes to regulation time.

Enugu Rangers were one of the casualties of the opening day losses as the team suffered a home 2-0 defeat when they lost to visiting Abia Warriors in Akwa. Efforts from Bello Lukman and Monday Yakubu guaranteed an opening day triumph over the hosts.

In Ibadan, Kwara United were forced to a barren draw by visiting Gombe United, while newly promoted Doma United, were home also suffered the same fate following their 1-1 draw with visiting Sunshine Stars.

Plateau United were held at home to a 3-3 draw by Shooting Stars who opopened scoring in the sixth minute. But the hosts' lead lasted for just three minutes before Emmanuel Onyebuchi leveled up in the ninth minute.

Anthony Achu Okachi launched the Shooting Stars back into the lead in the 14th  minute and consolidated the lead in the 65th  minute before Izuchukwu Chimezie and Onyebuchi balanced the tie with two late goals.

In Uyo, newly-promoted Doma United held their own against Sunshine Queens in Gombe.  Ibrahim Yusuf for Sunshine to steal a point after falling behind in the 38th minute.

Elsewhere, newly-promoted Bayelsa United and Dakkada shared the spoils at the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa as Robert Christian Mizo gave the hosts the pricelesss lead in the 22nd minute.

Dakkaka, however, fought back late in the contest when Daniel Daga levelled on the brink of regulation time, while Niger Tornadoes earned themselves a deserved away win at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium.

Second half goals from Saidu Idris and David Okoromi gave the Tornadoes the triumhg on home soil.


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