Sports

NPFL: Shooting Stars keep continental football hopes alive with win over league leaders Enugu Rangers

A first-half goal from Christian Pyagbara was all Shooting Stars of Ibadan needed to defeat Enugu Rangers at the Lekan Salami Stadium on Wednesday, Soccernet.ng reports.

After the shenanigans with Enyimba on Sunday, NPFL table-toppers Rangers traveled to Ibadan to take on continental football hunters Shooting Stars. The Oluyole Warriors were fresh off a loss to Rivers United last time out and needed a win to get back on track.

Rangers visiting Ibadan was a big one, considering both teams’ placements on the NPFL, but because of their home advantage, Shooting Stars were the favorites to win.

The Oluyole Warriors did not disappoint, as despite a difficult first five minutes, they enforced their authority on the game and took the game to their visitors.

They didn’t need much time to get into the lead. After a corner from Shooting’s number 10 man Abiodun Ayobami, experienced NPFL campaigner Pyagbara reacted quickest to the cross in the box and headed it in to make it 1-0 after 12 minutes.

After scoring, Shooting Stars reduced their intensity and opted to keep the ball more. Rangers had a few half chances, but they didn’t take them.

The second half, however, was quite different. Shooting Stars started the game well, but they took their feet off the pedal about ten minutes in. It became an end-to-end game, with Rangers pressing hard for the equalizer. The Flying Antelopes had a big penalty shout midway into the second half, but the referee wrongfully waved it off.

Center-back Ayodeji Bamidele was quite brilliant, repelling everything that came his way. Shooting Stars had a big chance late on, but Malomo Taofeeq’s shot bounced off a defender in front of goal and went out for a corner-kick.

Shooting Stars eventually saw out their lead and ran out 1-0 winners. The result ensures that they keep their number 4 position. Five points behind Rangers, who sit at the top of the log. Remo Stars currently sit second, while Enyimba are third. If the Oluyole Warriors can win their last two games against Bayelsa United and Sporting Lagos, they will qualify for the CAF Confederations Cup- at least.

The other results from the matchday are:

Gombe United 1-3 Abia Warriors

Akwa United 3-1 Katsina United

Bendel 2-1 Rivers United

Enyimba 1-1 Bayelsa United

Kwara United 2-0 Kano Pillars

Niger Tornadoes 3-2 Lobi Stars

Remo Stars 4-1 Heartland

Sporting Lagos 1-2 Plateau United