Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa made his long-awaited return to the Kano Pillars lineup for the first time in a decade and proved decisive as Sai Masu Gida edged the division’s worst team Adamawa United in Kaduna.
Musa, playing in the colours of Pillars for the first time since he won the NPFL Golden Boot in the 2009-10 season received the captain’s armband from substantive skipper Rabiu Ali just before kickoff in a public display of deference and both players connected to give Pillars a 1-0 win at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium.
Ali had missed a 70th-minute penalty to give Pillars the lead against the resolute visitors but made amends ten minutes later as he connected with Musa’s centre to score what proved to be the winner.
The victory keeps Pillars joint top of the league on 40 points but with an inferior goals difference to Akwa United who claimed bragging rights in the Akwa Ibom derby courtesy of a brace by Charles Atshimene.
Meanwhile, MFM eased fears of relegation with a 2-0 win at Warri Wolves with Ifeanyi Onyebuchi and Clement Ogwu on target.
Rivers United continued their renaissance since the start of the second stanza of the league as they ran out 1-0 winners against Rangers in Enugu with ex-Rangers man Godwin Aguda delivering the death blow.
The win keeps Rivers United in fourth-place, two points off the top while Rangers drop to sixth.
Kwara United kept pace with the leaders with a 2-0 win over visiting Plateau United with Jide Fatoku and Stephen Jude with the goals.
Bright Onyedikachi and Kelechi Chimezie were on target as Heartland moved up to seventh with a 2-0 win over Katsina United in Owerri and it was a similar scoreline in Makurdi where Ossy Martins and Monday Akile scored as Lobi Stars beat strugglers FC Ifeanyiubah
Nasarawa United are up to fifth after a come from behind win at Wikki Tourists.
Manu Garba put Wikki ahead in the 22nd-minute but the visitors hit back through Anas Yusuf and Silas Nwankwo.
And it ended goalless between Sunshine Stars and Jigawa Golden Stars in Akure.
Kano Pillars 1-0 Adamawa United
Heartland FC 2-0 Katsina United
2020-21 NPFL MD21 SCORES
Wikki Tourists 1-2 Nasarawa United
Kwara United 2-0 Plateau United
Rangers 0-1 Rivers United
Dakkada FC 0-2 Akwa United
Sunshine Stars 0-0 Jigawa Golden Stars
Lobi Stars 2-0 FC Ifeanyiubah
Warri Wolves 0-2 MFM