The concluding Match Day 1 fixtures of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) were played across eight different match venues on Sunday.
Two home wins, two away victories and four draws with a total of 19 goals were recorded across all venues.
Only the game between Kwara United and Gombe United failed to provide any goal among the 10 Match Day 1 fixtures.
Rivers United vs Lobi Stars
The defending Champions, Rivers United, began their title defence on a bright note with a 2-1 win over 10-man Lobi Stars at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium.
The Stanley Eguma-led boys started well in their league opener and in the 16th minute, Morice Chukwu put the Pride of Rivers in front.
However, they were pegged back by the visitors as Umar Abba scored in the 56th minute.
Unfortunately for Lobi Stars, they were dealt a blow after Sunday Chinedu was shown a red card nine minutes after they had gotten the equaliser.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Lobi Stars almost secured a point in PortHarcourt before their hearts were broken by Kenechukwu Agu’s 99th-minute penalty.
At the Ikenne Township Stadium, Remo Stars faced El Kanemi Warriors who they last met in 2019. Just like what transpired in January 2019, the Blue Sky Stars thumped the newcomers by two goals.
Samuel Anaekwe gave the hosts the lead in the 31st minute after several missed opportunities.
Edidoing Ezekiel doubled the lead for the Sky Blue Stars in the 85th minute.
At Awka, Enugu Rangers started the season on the wrong footing.
They were defeated 2-0 by Abia Warriors in the first Oriental derby.
Chidiebere Nwobodo almost gave the hosts the lead in the third minute after the winger attempted Archibong Eso’s pass but Elu Wilson blocked the effort.
Then in the 15th minute, Abia Warriors got their first chance on goal from Monday Yakubu, whose shot from 25 yards went wide.
Meanwhile, three minutes before the halftime break, Bello Lukman headed Kalu Nweke’s cross to put the visitors in front.
Three minutes into the second half, Nwobodo’s strike almost levelled for the Antelopes before goalkeeper Femi Thomas saved the attempt.
However, the visitors sealed the away win with Monday Yakubu’s late-minute goal for Erasmus Onu’s led team.
Just like in the Oriental Derby, Wiki Tourist of Bauchi suffered a home defeat to Niger Tornadoes in a game that was a Northern derby.
Two quick goals in the second half from Saidu Idris and David Okoromi in the 75th and 78th minute respectively helped the Ikon Allah boys defeat their rivals.
The Gbenga Ogunbote-led Shooting Stars were held to a 3-3 draw by Plateau United at the New Jos stadium.
The Oluyole Warriors kept their eyes up and in the sixth minute Akpan Joshua headed home from Uko Aniete’s cross.
However, the Peace Boys levelled two minutes later from Onyebuchi Ifeanyi’s finish.
But the rampaging Warriors didn’t wait for long before scoring the second goal from new signing, Anthony Okachi’s finish to Austin Opara’s cross in the 16th minute.
The second half saw the Oluyole Warriors seeking their third goal with Plateau United being encamped in their half.
In the 48th minute, Okachi’s final touch failed to beat Goalkeeper Suraj Ayeleso in a one-on-one attempt, the effort then saw the former Ikorodu City striker stretched out due to injury for another new signing, Destiny Ashadi four minutes later.
The Oluyole Warriors got the third goal five minutes after the hour mark with Akintunde Azeez’s finish after he had dribbled past goalkeeper Suraj Ayeleso to tap into an empty net.
Despite trailing by two goals, the Peace Boys were unrelenting and their persistence paid off with two quick goals in the 72nd and 81st minute respectively.
Uche Onwuansonaya got the hosts back into the game afterwards, and Emmanuel Ifeanyi’s brace levelled for Plateau United.
Just as it was in Jos, Bayelsa United were held by visitors, Dakkada Fc in a game that ended 1-1 at Yenagoa.
The newcomers, Bayelsa scored first in the 22nd minute from Robert Mizo’s header. But another header from Daniel Dage restored parity for Dakkada in the 92nd minute.
At Ibadan, Kwara United are still yet to adapt to their new home, the Lekan Salami Stadium as they were held by Gombe United in a barren draw.
Sunshine Stars also held Newcomers, Doma United in a 1-1 draw. Charles Chibuike scored for the newly promoted side, Doma in the 39th minute before the Owenna Whales salvaged a point with a last-minute strike from Yusuf Ibrahim.
Rangers 0-2 Abia Warriors
Wikki 0-2 Tornadoes
Plateau Utd 3-3 Shooting
Remo Stars 2-0 El-Kanemi
Bayelsa Utd 1-1 Dakkada
Rivers Utd 2-1 Lobi Stars
Kwara Utd 0-0 Gombe Utd
Doma Utd 1-1 Sunshine.
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