Sikiru Olatunbosun almost breaks the internet with stunning goal for MFM FC
For anyone with doubts about the quality of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), the last few rounds of matches would have gone a long way towards laying them to rest. The most recent fixtures in particular served up some of the best fare that Nigerian football has to offer, so much so that one goal even went viral.
But there was more. Here are our three observations from this past weekend:
Olatunbosun almost break the internet
Champions Rangers visited MFM FC's Agege Stadium on Friday night. With Rangers just returning from their continental exertions and sitting at the bottom of the log, this was expected to be a feisty affair.
But no one could have expected the quality of the goals that lit up the "Soccer Temple." Sikiru Olatunbosun stunned everyone, including perhaps himself, by scoring a goal that should definitely be in contention for the FIFA Puskas Award.
The goal dripped of quality from the build up to the strike itself. A quick interchange of passing got the ball to striker Stephen Odey's feet, but there was little he could do under the tight attentions of two defenders. So he did the only thing he could: flick it with his back heel towards teammate Olatunbosun, who was also under the close attentions of defender Emmanuel Etim.
Equally constrained, Olatunbosun improvised with a flick of his own, his right foot lofting the ball over the head of the flummoxed Etim before ripping an unstoppable left-footed volley to the opposite corner with the defender still trying to get his bearings.
Rangers do not normally let their heads drop, but such was the beauty of the strike that the champions turned lapdog weary for nearly the rest of the game.
Odey added a second later before Rangers recovered enough to find a late consolation as MFM held on to win 2-1. But the talk of the game -- and the weekend -- was the Olatunbosun goal. Finding a strike of better quality will take some doing.
The goal reverberated around the internet and has been nominated as one of CNN's goals of the week. That's big. An NPFL goal in contention for a global award.
No one who was at the Agege Stadium would have left without feeling like they got full value for their gate fee. Congrats, folks, you witnessed history in the flesh!
WOW �� Early nomination for the 2017 Puskas Award? pic.twitter.com/BM5U2XFupT- Puskas Awards (@PuskasAward2017) February 28, 2017
Odey sets the league alight
Most of the talk of the weekend was around Olatunbosun's goal, which you would be hard pressed to quarrel with, as it is not often that talk of Nigerian football is associated with skill of such magnificence.
It is hard to find anything to push back on from that goal but if there were to be any complaint, it'd be about how it has taken away from Odey.
The youngster is the next big thing in Nigerian football at the moment and he is taking the league by storm.
Odey has scored six goals so far, including the second that sealed the 2-1 win for MFM against Rangers. Four goals in four games in January helped him win the League Bloggers Award (LBA) for NPFL player of the month.
He has now added two more plus three assists, putting the 19-year-old at the tip of the league's top scorers chart.
It is not just about his goals, but also his movement, running and positioning. MFM definitely have a star in the making and this week he proved it once again.
Rangers struggles go on
Plateau United, El Kanemi Warriors, ABS FC and MFM FC. There is a very unfamiliar, even quirky look about the top four of the NPFL after 10 rounds of matches. While champions Rangers are treading water in the bottom three, the young upstarts are flying high. Serial winners Enyimba came close to sneaking a road win at Lobi Stars until they conceded midway through the second half and went on to lose 2-1.
Rivers United followed on from their home draw against Kano Pillars with a 1-0 loss at Sunshine Stars, whose players spent the buildup staging a public protest to demand the payment of their outstanding wages.
Akwa United are making a resurgence and their 3-1 win over struggling Abia Warriors moved them from the bottom of the log to the top half. At this rate, they could disrupt those upstarts in no time.
Is it that it's early days? Or are the unfashionable sides taking over this season?
Colin Udoh is a Nigeria football correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @ColinUdoh.