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Rangers vs Enyimba: Fans encroachment, violence mar Oriental derby in NPFL

Rangers vs Enyimba: Fans encroachment, violence mar Oriental derby in NPFL

The Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu erupted into chaos on Sunday as the highly anticipated Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) clash between Enugu Rangers and Enyimba descended into violence. 

The pivotal matchday 35 encounter, with the title race hanging in the balance, took a dramatic turn in the dying minutes when a penalty decision given to the hosts Enugu Rangers sparked pandemonium.

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A Rangers player went down in the box, and the referee pointed to the spot. This decision sent shockwaves through the stadium, with Enyimba players vehemently protesting. The tension escalated as precious minutes ticked by, with Enyimba refusing to allow the penalty to be taken.

This proved to be the tipping point. Unable to contain their emotions, scores of fans from both sides surged onto the pitch, their dreams of title glory seemingly within reach but hanging by a thread. Videos and pictures circulating on social media captured the ugly scenes that unfolded, with supporters clashing in a frenzy.

Watch the penalty decision

The situation quickly spiraled out of control, forcing the referee to abandon the match after a futile 20-minute wait for order to be restored. 

The pre-match hype surrounding this “Oriental Derby” had been immense, with both teams knowing a win would propel them to the top of the table with just three games remaining. However, the crucial encounter was overshadowed by the violence, leaving behind a trail of injuries and raising serious concerns about fan safety in Nigerian football. 

Reports indicate that several supporters sustained significant injuries, with social media flooded with images of fans receiving medical attention.

The incident has cast a dark shadow over the NPFL and raises critical questions regarding fan behavior and stadium security protocols.

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