By Akila Matawal
Last weekend’s round of matches in the Nigeria Professional Football League served up some great football, and the biggest game of the matchweek — Akwa United’s home tie against Enyimba — really lived up to expectations.
The match between the two title contenders looked destined to end goalless before Nelson Ogbonnaya tripped Mfon Udoh, and Charles Atshimene stepped up to fire in the resulting penalty to earn the Promise Keepers a 1-0 win, which extended their lead at the top of the log to five points.
Three brilliant goal-line clearances were made in the entertaining fixture — two from Enyimba defender Emmanuel Ampiah and one from Akwa United centre-back Olisa Ndah.
Elsewhere, there were countless memorable moments — one of which saw Nasarawa United defender Chigozie Obasi score a worldie in their 2-1 defeat at Ifeanyi Ubah. And at Agege Stadium, Katsina United pulled off a shock draw against MFM.
We take a look at the players impressed in during last weekend’s round of fixtures.
Our chosen XI are paraded in a 4-3-3 formation.
Bassa Djeri (Enyimba FC)
Goalkeeper Bassa-Djeri of Enyimba must be disappointed that his breathtaking saves could not save his side from defeat at Akwa United. The shot stopper made several saves but conceded a late penalty. However, given the quality and number of saves he made in the game, the analysts at 234fotball have deemed the Togo international worthy of inclusion in the Team of the Week.
Chigozie Obasi (Nasarawa United)
At Ifeanyi Ubah Stadium, Chigozie Obasi scored a potential goal of the season.
With so much panache, the defender fired a stunning free-kick from 40 yards past Ifeanyi Ubah’s goalie and into the back of the net in Nnewi to level scores for Nasarawa United, but the Solid Miners returned to Lafia empty-handed after Uzochukwu Ifejiofor scored in the second period to give the hosts all three points.
Evans Ogbonda (FC Ifeanyi Ubah)
An assist for a full-back is a rarity in the league, but Ifeanyi Ubah defender Evans Ogbonda provided one to help his side beat title-chasing Nasarawa United.
Kareem Abdoulaye (Dakkada)
Dakkada’s Kareem Abdoulaye played the sweeper role, making Olawale Doyeni enjoy some comfort at the heart of defense in their 1-0 win over Heartland.
Emmanuel Ampiah (Enyimba)
In a back three put up by Fatai Osho, Emmanuel Ampiah thrived really well. The Ghanaian made two goal-line clearances to deny Kennedy Boboye’s side. In the first half, the defender produced an acrobatic clearance to deny Dare Ojo and in the second period, he headed Olisa Ndah’s header — which was destined for the top corner — over the bar.
Emmanuel Charles (Dakkada)
After starting and scoring against Kwara United the previous weekend, Emmanuel Charles was named in the Dakkada line-up for the game with Heartland by Danlami Umar. The midfielder made the most of the opportunity, scoring the only goal of the match to hand the Uyo club a second straight win.
The former Akwa United man, rarely given game time before the last few weeks, found the bottom corner from inside the box after a miscued effort fell kindly to him.
Ugochukwu Ugwuoke (Enugu Rangers)
Rangers’ Ugochukwu Ugwuoke was in fine form as the Flying Antelopes survived Wikki Tourists’ late push to seal a 2-1 win. Ugwuoke got the second goal for Salisu Yusuf’s men.
Godwin Aguda (Rivers United)
Godwin Aguda led Rivers United’s to a 2-1 comeback win against Warri Wolves in Port Harcourt. The result took Rivers United up to third on the log.
Nonso Nzediegwu (Ifeanyi Ubah)
Ifeanyi Ubah’s Nonso Nzediegwu put up a good show – netting the first goal in their 2-1 home win over Nasarawa United.
Sadeeq Yusuf (Sunshine Stars)
In Sunshine Stars’s big clash with Kano Pillars, Sadeeq Yusuf proved the difference as his only goal fetched all three points for the Akure side.
Godspower Aniefiok (Enugu Rangers)
Former AC Milan youth player Godspower “Tower” Aniefiok scored one of the quickest goals of the season when he headed in Ibrahim Olawoyin’s cross in the first minute of Rangers’ 2-1 win over Wikki Tourists.
Coach: Abdulazeez Mohammed (Katsina United)
Abdulazeez Mohammed gets our honours for guiding his Katsina United side to earn a point at MFM.
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