Bayelsa United and Akwa United delivered an eight-goal thriller to start the NPFL24 season in Yenagoa, with the home side emerging with a 5-3 win. Their cause was helped by a dazzling hat-trick from last season’s Rookie of the Year, Robert Mizo.
Akwa United took the lead through Hadi Mohamed after only 20 minutes before Alex Jerry levelled matters with a fine strike seven minutes later. Seyi Oguntayo restored the lead for the Promise Keepers after 38 minutes before Mizo scored his first of the game on the stroke of half-time to make it 2-2.
Oguntayo scored his second of the game with 15 minutes left of the match to make it 3-2 to Akwa United. Mizo pounced on a loose backpass to equalise for Bayelsa United after 81 minutes before heading home his third of the match four minutes later to turn the game on its head. Emmanuel Nneoyi scored in the 90th minute to secure the win for the Prosperity Boys.
Elsewhere, Rangers began the NPFL24 season with a perfect 2-1 win over Doma United in Awka. Kalu Nweke and Austin Onyemaechi put the Flying Antelopes ahead in the first half before Bidemi Owoku scored a consolation goal for the Savannah Tigers in the second half.
Abia Warriors began the season with all three points at home against Niger Tornadoes, with a goal from John Peter in the 79th minute enough to secure all three points for the Umuahia Landlords.
Newly-promoted Katsina United got their NPFL24 campaign off to a flying start with a 1-0 win over Kwara United at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium. Debutant Lukman Bello scored the game’s only goal after 72 minutes to secure all three points for his side.
Shooting Stars secured a credible 2-1 win at home to Mbwas Mangut‘s Plateau United in Ibadan to start their NPFL24 season. Ayobami Adekunle and Anayo Ogbonna put the Oluyole Warriors ahead before Uche Onwuasonaya pulled one back for Plateau United.
Newly-promoted Heartland showed great fighting spirit to come back from two goals down and draw 2-2 against Lobi Stars in Owerri. Adebayo Waheed and Francis Odinaka scored in the first half to put the visitors ahead two goals in the final 12 minutes from Patrick Nwogbaga and Ezekiel Bassey saw the Naze Millionaires steal a valuable point at home.
Sunshine Stars claimed a narrow 1-0 win over Kano Pillars to start the NPFL24 season in Akure. Oge Emmanuel scored the first goal of the league, which turned out to be the winner for the Owena Waves.