Battlegrounds open in five centres as curtain falls on NPFL 2021/22

Battlegrounds open in five centres as curtain falls on NPFL 2021/22
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Rivers carry the NPFL trophy in Port Harcourt

BY KUNLE SOLAJA

The Nigeria Professional Football League for the season 2021/22 comes to a close this Sunday. The champions already emerged so also is the first runners-up.

However battle grounds are open elsewhere where the struggles for third place as well fight against relegation reaches crescendo.

The battle grounds are the hitherto sleepy town of Ikenne, Owerri, Uyo, Gombe, Kano and Aba.

In Ikenne, Remo Stars have everything to play for as they host Niger Tornadoes. A win crowns their efforts this season with a ticket into the CAF Confederation Cup irrespective of result elsewhere, especially in Owerri where fellow third-place contenders, Kwara United are away to relegation prone Heartland.

The Owerri match is potentially explosive and has a tendency to be bloody. Kwara United are aiming for a win that could see them upstage Remo Stars in the third position.

Similarly, Heartland, who had gone down before, will be battling against another possible drop on home ground. Only a win can ensure their survival.

Another battleground is Uyo where relegation-bound Dakkada face Sunshine Stars in a battle against a looming drop. Wikki Tourists at home in Gombe face similar ordeal like Dakkada as they host similarly relegation fighters in Katsina United.

In Kano, relegation candidates, Kano Pillars are hosting Shooting Stars, perennial strugglers against relegation. In Aba, only a win may save Abia Warriors in the battle against relegation as they face Lobi Stars.

In Port Harcourt, it will be more of entertainment as it often happens on coronation days. It will be a coronation ceremony for the new Nigerian football kings – Rivers United. Newly appointed Commissioner for Sports, Chris Green will no doubt be grinning, performing a major function as the flagship sports outfit of his state will be crowned.

Second-placed Plateau United will host Enyimba of Aba in what looks a dead rubber. Both teams have no real battle to fight.

MATCHDAY 38 FIXTURES

SUNDAY 17TH JULY, 2022

• Abia Warriors vs Lobi Stars 4:00PM

• Dakkada vs Sunshine Stars 4:00PM

• Rangers Int’l vs Akwa United 4:00PM

• Heartland vs Kwara United 4:00PM

• Remo Stars vs Niger Tornadoes 4:00PM

• Rivers United vs Gombe United 4:00PM

• MFM vs Nasarawa United 4:00PM

• Kano Pillars vs Shooting Stars 4:00PM

• Wikki Tourists vs Katsina 4:00PM

• Plateau United vs Enyimba Int’l 4:00PM

NPFL STATS AHEAD OF LAST MATCH DAY

No. of Matches Played:370 

No. of Matches Won:291

No.of Matches Won at Home: 262 

No. of Matches Won Away:29

No. of Matches Drawn:79

Goals

No. of Goals Scored: 759 

Average Goals/Match: 2 

No. of Goals Scored at Home: 577

No. of Own Goals:12

No. of Goals Scored Away:202

Penalties 

No. of Penalties Scored:70

No. of Penalties not Scored: 22 

No. of Penalties Awarded: 92

Cards

No. of Yellow Cards:1,365

No. of Red Cards: 48

Top Goals Scorers: 

18 Goals

Chijioke Akuneto-(Rivers United)

16 goals:

Victor Mbaoma (Enyimba)

Yusuf Abdullazeez (Gombe Utd) 

Best Attacking Team: Rivers United (57 goals Scored)

Worst Defense: MFM (50 goals Conceded)

Rivers United led on 28 Matchdays out of 37 Matchdays

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