Record making Remo Stars renewed their hope of going continental again next season after beating former multiple-time Nigerian champions, Enyimba FC in Ikenne on Wednesday evening.
The score line of 1-0 may appear modest and ordinary, yet it is significant. It not only fetch the club the available three points at stake to keep pace with Group A table toppers, Bendel Insurance, it is the fastest goal in this season of the NPFL which has seen 40 matches played.
Spectators had hardly settled on their seats when Samuel Anakwe’s low drive stunned Enyimba after just few exchanges of passes under one minute.
It has kept the Ikenne side pace with Bendel Insurance, one of the legacy Nigerian club which is gunning for its first silverware at the top level since the amateurs days in 1979.
Bendel Insurance who have been epileptic since professional football league began in Nigeria in 1990 appeared very determined to become champions after 44 years in the wilderness.
The Benin ‘Arsenal’ are the only undefeated side so far this season. The winning streak which is on its fifth stretch on Wednesday saw the club pulling a valuable 1-0 away win in what is easily their longest distance from home this season.
Taking a queue from the model club, Remo Stars which flies their players to distant playing grounds, Bendel Insurance made the journey from Benin on two flight shuttle to Abuja and then to Maiduguri.
It turned a worthy investment as Deputy Echeta’s 29th minute goal gave Premier League returnee a firm command of Group A.
Shooting Stars continue their struggle as they try to get a melodious rhythm. They fell 2-1 to Gombe. After a goalless first half, two quick goals from Yusuf Taiye in the 52nd and 61st minute unsettled the visitors who only managed to half the score line when Falke Ghali scored from close range four minutes later.
In Ibadan, Kwara United recorded their first win of the season with a slim 2-1 win over visiting Akwa United of Uyo. Wasiu Alalade opened the scoring for the home side in the 15th minute but Cyril Olisemah before the home team scored the winner in the 86th minute.
Former champions Plateau United won away at Nasarawa United with Ibrahim Mustaph scoring for the away side in the 20th minute but King Moses Osanga equalised in the 33rd minute before Onyebuchi scored the winner in the 69th minute.
In Group B, Rivers United maintained their domination with a 2-0 win over the visiting Wikki Tourists. Goals from Gideon Duru in the 25th minute and a penalty kick converted in the 64th minute pushed the side to 13 points and maintained the lead.
Lobi stars also pipped Sunshine Stars of Akure by a lone goal scored by Joseph Atule in the closing minute of the match via a penalty kick. The win pushed the side to just one point behind River United.
Enugu Rangers won by a lone goal against Dakkada FC while Bayelsa United and Doma United settled for a 1-1 score line but Abia Warriors pipped Niger Tornadoes by a lone goal and moved to third position in pecking order in the group.