Seven times Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) winner, Enyimba International of Aba, on Tuesday flagged-off their campaign on a brighter note in the elite Super 6 league playoff as they sealed a 1-0 win over arch rivals and another seven times winners, Rangers International FC of Enugu at the Agege Stadium, Lagos.
The Agage stadium is hosting the NPFL playoff to determine the eventual champions of the 2018/2019 abridged league competition.
In what could be regarded as a fiesta parading the best of Nigerian clubsides, the playoff lived up to its reputation with total firework displayed on the first day.
The playoff comprises six top teams from the abridged Group A and B that produced three teams each. Rangers International FC, Enyimba FC and Lobi Stars emerged from Group A, while Akwa United FC of Uyo, Kano Pillars and FC Ifeanyi Ubah of Anambra grabbed the three spots in Group B
The opening game between the two seven times champions saw Enyimba FC winning the bragging rights in the Oriental Derby, courtesy a 50th minute solitary goal by Joseph Odiaye.
The Peoples Elephant are eyeing their eight NPFL crown, having won it in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2015 respectively.
For the Gbenga Ogunbote-tutored Enugu Rangers, they are also chasing the same record with their previous triumphs as League champions in 1974, 1975, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1984 and 2016 respectively.
The second encounter of the day was a four (4)-goal thriller between four times League winners, Kano Pillars and Akwa United. The game stalemated at a 2-2 draw.
David Ebuka drew the first blood in the 3rd minute, while Effiong Ndifereke equalised for Akwa United. Nyima Nwagua and Godspower Anifiok also registered their names in the score sheet in the 33rd minute and 37th minute of the play.
The last game of Match Day one between the defending champions Lobi Stars of Makurdi and FC Ifeanyi Ubah ended in disaster for the Anambra Warriors as they slumped to 1-3 humiliation against the Stars.
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 in the 40th minute.
According to reports, the faulty floodlight system at the Agege Stadium almost marred proceedings on the night – NAN