Bendel, El Kanemi off to bright start

El Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri and Bendel Insurance of Benin are setting the pace at the Nigeria National League Super 4 playoff, holding at the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State as both clubs won their opening matches on day two of the tournament.

El Kanemi recorded the first win of the tournament by beating Doma United of Gombe 2-0 in their matchday two fixture on Thursday to take an early advantage in the round-robin tournament.

The fixture was El Kanemi’s first taste of action in the Super 4, after their opening day game against Bendel Insurance was rescheduled to allow the Maiduguri side to rest, following their late arrival for the tournament.

In the second game decided on Thursday, a late strike by Austin Ogunye was the difference as Bendel Insurance ran out 1-0 winners over Bayelsa United at the same venue.

The forward volleyed the ball in style into the bottom corner of the post with his left foot, after his initial right-footed attempt was repelled by the Bayelsa United goalkeeper.

The result took the NNL title beyond the reach of Bayelsa United, leaving them with one point from two matches. Their first game against Doma United on Wednesday ended goalless.

With one win each, El Kanemi Warriors and Bendel Insurance have three points each and are separated by goal difference on the table, while Bayelsa United and Doma United have one point each.

El Kanemi Warriors and Bendel Insurance will now face off in a potential title decider on Friday. The fixture was scheduled for matchday one but had to be rescheduled for the rest day, due to the imbalance created by travelling.

The final matchday of the Super 4 is Saturday, with El Kanemi Warriors wrapping up their campaign against Bayelsa United, while Bendel Insurance will take on Doma United.

The season-ending NNL Super 4 playoff adopted a round-robin format, as the club with the highest points after three rounds of matches will be crowned champions of the second-tier league.

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