STATS TALK: Three talking points from Matchday 24
By Ayobami Animasahun
MFM FC have completed their moonwalk into the relegation battle. Meanwhile, Abia Warriors finally had a reason to cheer from the spot this season. Plus how the home teams harvested wins in Sunday’s Matchday 24 of the 2019/20 Nigeria Professional Football League season (NPFL) provided The Statsman with the following talking points.
MFM FC on the watchlist
The Statsman raised concern over the drought of MFM FC last week, having failed to score in four consecutive matches. Following Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Warri Wolves, the Olukoya Boys have added another game to the run, thereby claiming a comfortable spot on the watchlist for this season.
Recall that; since Sharks FC’s successful attempt in the 2012/13 season, all the teams that went five or more consecutive games without scoring a goal eventually got relegated at the end of the campaign. The Lagos-based club, who are without a win in six league matches, have now failed to score in their last five league matches. The team are now placed 16th on the standings – only out of the drop zone by better goal difference. With 14 rounds of matches left, MFM FC are tasked to either re-enact the achievement of the defunct Sharks FC or end their five-year stint in the elite division.
Abia Warriors finally convert a spot-kick
Having failed to score any of their previous four penalty kicks this season, Abia Warriors had carved an unenviable niche that probably got opposition fans cheerful until Sunday. Fatai Abdullahi calmed his nerves, stepped up to convert a 95th-minute penalty kick to earn the Ochendo Babes maximum points against fellow strugglers Adamawa United in Umuahia. The goal ended a run of five missed penalty kicks (from last season) and a 10-month wait for their first goal from the spot since Samson Obi scored a 96th-minute penalty against El-Kanemi Warriors on May 15, 2019.
A matchday for the homers
All the home teams, except Katsina United, recorded a win in a tilted Matchday 24 results in the NPFL. We are obviously approaching the business end of the season where most teams are banking on a win from home matches to serve as a bedrock for their eventual achievement at the season.
However, having nine of the ten home teams record a win is an unprecedented event this term and the last occurrence of such in a 20-league NPFL format dates back to the Matchday 8 of the 2017/2018 season. We shall closely monitor if such will repeat itself before the end of this campaign.