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Thursday, December 7, 2023

NPFL Wrap; Top of the table clash between Kano Pillars and Akwa United interrupted by pitch invasion

Sunday’s slate of Nigeria Professional Football League matches were overshadowed by controversy in the clash between top-2 sides Akwa United and Kano Pillars at the Sani Abacha Stadium. Going against league and Federal Government protocol by allowing fans into the stadium, Kano Pillars scored a late goal that appeared to be the match winner but the goal was ruled out for a clear offside after a consultation between members of the refereeing crew. The Pillars fans reacted furiously and a pitch invasion ensued that interrupted the match and required its postponement. Considering the history of referee intimidation by fans in Nigerian domestic football and the progress made on many fronts by the NPFL this season, it will be interesting to see if and how the league punishes Kano Pillars for their multiple transgressions.

The match finished up early on Monday with the 0-0 draw remaining at full time and Akwa maintaining their one-point lead at the top. Outside of the eventful top of the table clash, the teams that benefitted most were Kwara United and Nasarawa United, who moved into 4th and 3rd place respectively thanks to victories while Rivers United’s shock defeat to last placed Adamawa United dropped them to 5th.

Yemi Sodeeq of Owo Sports has a recap from all the action on Sunday in his column. Pan-Africa Football also extends its gratitude to Yemi for providing additional details about the incident at the Kano Pillars-Akwa United match. A video of the goal that was ruled offside is below and captures the intensity of the crowd during the match.

NPFL Wrap Up: Picking up the pieces of Match Day 27 (Owo Sports)