It was another weekend of drama in the Nigeria Professional Football League, with Andrew Ikefe’s masterclass gifted Plateau United their 10th consecutive unbeaten run since their matchday eight 2-1 loss at Wikki Tourists.
Abia Warriors recorded their first away win this season, Rangers destroyed Akwa United to concretise themselves in the title chase while Nasarawa United and Enyimba battled it out for a tough draw.
Our team of experts here at Lodgexpress look at the top performers from Matchday 18 in the Nigeria Professional Football League.
Mustapha Lawal (Sunshine Stars)
The shotstopper has been in fine form of late and continually salvaging points for his side.
The Owena Whales’ match at home against Dakkada was certainly no different, with Lawal pulling off two world class saves that he had no right to pull off.
His electric reflexes clearly earned his side a comeback victory as well as an important three points.
Andrew Ikefe (Plateau United)
Plateau United secured another astonishing point at Aba which extraordinarily included another brilliant show of defensive genius achieved primarily through the heroics of center-back, Andrew Ikefe.
Ikefe was dominant in the backline, winning 5 aerial duels, making 2 interceptions as well as a colossal 8 clearances.
Anietie Uko (Shooting Stars)
The midfielder who is beaming with confidence, put on another elegant and controlling display on the night as they secured a slight 1-0 victory over Kano Pillars.
It was an excellent all-round performance from Uko.
Christian Molokwu (MFM FC)
The right-back was handed greater license to attack than his fellow wing-back, and he ran riot all through his stay on the pitch as they secured another point in their 1-1 draw against Nasarawa United.
He continuously cut inside excellently and kept possession ticking over, in what was an absolute complete performance from him.
Victor Mbaoma (Enyimba Int’l)
Mbaoma was once again an ever present threat to the Plateau goal, and finally scoring the opener for the People’s Elephants as they played out a 1-1 draw with title contenders, Plateau United.
Shedrack Asiegbu (Rangers Int’l)
The mercurial attacking midfielder carved up a helpless Akwa United side, coming on in the second half to complement an already dangerous and dynamic Rangers frontline.
Asiegbu scored his third goal of the season as well as his side’s third goal of the evening late in the game to cap off an impressive performance.
Nweke Kalu (Abia Warriors)
Yet another routine performance from the playmaker. Kalu’s ability to dribble past defenders with ease and speed and force them into decisions opened up the passing lane for his side’s 2-1 victory against Lobi Stars.
He was foot perfect with amazing five successful dribbles and 3 key passes.
Tochukwu Michael (Nasarawa United)
In this Nikyu Bala inspired Nasarawa United revival, Tochukwu Micheal has proved to be one of the linchpins in the Solid Miners’ surge up the table.
Michael provided another commanding performance in midfield in a tie they shared the spoils in their 1-1 draw with bottom-placed visitors, MFM FC.
Abdulazeez Yusuf (Gombe Utd)
The standout element of Yusuf’s performance on Sunday against the high-flying league leaders, Rivers United, was his excellent physical attributes. Not enough is mentioned on how physically strong he is, and how well he executes them on matchdays.
The joint top scorer this season, whether it was running back to cover an attack or holding his man off before darting past him, there was power and agility in Yusuf’s strides and he gave Rivers United a tough ride in their 0-0 draw.
Valentine Odoh (Abia Warriors)
Following a superb performance for quite a while, scoring goals on a consistent basis and playing in a team tipped to the brim with wealth and talent, it is easy to forget just how good Abia Warriors forward, Odoh is, and a performance like that on the weekend, where he struck twice in their 2-1 win over Lobi Stars, serves as a good reminder as to just how good he is.
Chidiebere Nwobodo (Rangers)
The winger might have played his best game in a Rangers shirt with an excellent display in the Flying Antelopes’ 3-0 win over Akwa United in Uyo on Sunday.
The sprightly Nigerian has been consistently one of the top performers for the Rangers International Football Club so far this season. In his side’s easy win at Akwa United , it was again Nwobodo who provided much needed attacking influence to his side and got the second goal of the game.
Mutawakilu Seidu (Rangers FC)
The 26-year-old Rangers goalkeeper was back to his best against Akwa United, proving why he belongs in the star-studded Maikaba line-up.
The Ghanaian goalkeeper made some strings of breath-taking saves, 2 of them terrific reflex stops to deny the dreadful Wisdom Fernando Mina from 1v1 situation.
Babatunde Bello (Sunshine Stars)
The deep-lying playmaker took control in the centre of Sunshine Stars’ midfield, pulling the strings in the Owena Whales’ 2-1 comeback win over Dakkada.
Completing 80% passes at an accuracy of about 89.9%, Bello made 3 key passes and netted the first goal of the game, dispatching one of his trademark freekicks to level the scoreline.
Not forgetting his defensive duties on the afternoon as well, Bello made 3 tackles, 4 interceptions and 2 clearances in an all-round class performance.
Kazie Enyinnaya (Rivers United)
Electrifying as always bursting down the right flank, Kazie proved a constant threat to the Gombe United defence and was in everything for Rivers United completing over 95% of his passes.
Kazie, an exciting prospect who is continually growing in stature with a prolonged run in the first team, continually exploited Gombe United down the right flank, registering 3 key passes and whipping in 4 crosses.