Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan soared to joint leadership in the 2023–2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) after a 1-0 triumph over Kano Pillars Football Club. Substitute Kareem Ayinde secured the win with a goal in the 55th minute, propelling 3SC to 17 points in their ninth fixture.
Despite their stellar performance, 3SC’s +3 goal difference landed them in third place on the table. Doma United of Gombe and Lobi Stars of Makurdi, also on 17 points, held higher goal differences of +5 and +4 respectively, securing the top positions.
In a match witnessed by a massive crowd at the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, 3SC created numerous scoring opportunities but struggled to convert them. Players like Ayobami Adekunle, Ayobami Junior, Abdullahi Lawal, and Akpan Joshua missed chances, while Kano Pillars also faced setbacks, including a free-kick by skipper Rabiu Ali that hit the crossbar.
Simultaneously, Gombe United secured a crucial 1-0 win against Niger Tornadoes at the Pantami Township stadium. Alhaji Kwairanga, Gombe United’s coach, expressed relief over the victory following three consecutive defeats, emphasising the significance of the three points for their league position.
“These three points are very vital for us to move up the league table. We executed our game plan successfully and sought financial motivation to sustain this achievement,” Kwairanga stated, appealing to the state government for support.
On the other side, Maji Mohammed, Chief Coach of Niger Tornadoes, acknowledged the setback despite his team’s efforts. He aimed to earn maximum points in upcoming matches, reflecting on the missed opportunity for a point in the face of their aspiration to accumulate more points as the league progresses.
The Match Day 9 fixtures saw intense competition across various games:
- Gombe United FC 1-0 Niger Tornadoes FC
- Bayelsa United FC 1-1 Sunshine Stars FC
- Rangers International FC 0-0 Katsina United FC
- Enyimba International FC 1-0 Lobi Stars FC
- Akwa United FC 3-2 Remo Stars FC
- Sporting Lagos FC 1-1 Heartland FC
- Rivers United FC 2-1 Abia Warriors FC
- Shooting Stars FC 1-0 Kano Pillars FC
Saturday’s fixture witnessed Doma United FC securing a 1-0 victory over Plateau United FC, while Bendel Insurance FC and Kwara United FC settled for a 2-2 draw.