Plateau United inch closer to maiden NPFL title as Rivers United secure first away win to ease relegation worries
PLATEAU UNITED 1-0 MFM FC
In the marquee game of the weekend, Plateau United piped fellow title-chasers MFM FC 1-0 to brighten their chances of claiming a first Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) crown.
Ibeh Johnson struck the only goal of the encounter after just three minutes and ultimately moved the ‘Peace Boys’ 6 points clear of the ‘Olukoya Boys’. MFM remain second on the NPFL standings despite the defeat.
MFM were without the duo of NPFL hotshot Stephen Odey and Sikiru Olatunbosun while Plateau United also missed first goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye, as the trio were on national assignment with the CHAN Eagles in Cotonou.
With just 4 Match Days left in the current campaign, Kennedy Boboye’s men are now firm favourites to clinch their first-ever league title.
AKWA UNITED 3-0 NIGER TORNADOES
Despite missing four key players-Alhassan Ibrahim, Emmanuel Ariwachukwu, Afeez Aremu and Ifeanyi Ifeanyi- who are on national duty with the CHAN Eagles, Akwa United thrashed visiting Niger Tornadoes 3-0 to keep their slim title hopes alive.
Cyril Olisema, Gabriel Okechukwu and Edem Akakatang were all on target as the ‘Promise Keepers’ dominated proceedings before an impressive crowd at the Godswill AKpabio International stadium in Uyo.
With the win, the 2015 Federation Cup (now Aiteo Cup) winners are now within 2 points of second-placed MFM.
ENYIMBA 3-0 ABS FC
In nearby Calabar, 7-time champions Enyimba recorded an impressive 3-0 whitewash of relegation threatened ABS FC at the UJ Esuene stadium.
Fisrt half goals from Stanley Dimgba and Eric Frimpong plus a Mustapha Ibrahim’s second half strike ensured the ‘Peoples Elephants’ grabbed all three points to keep their continental hopes alive.
Enyimba remain 4th on the log with same number of points (54) as third-placed Akwa United; who have a better goals difference.
Enyimba and ABS are billed to meet again in a couple of days in Ilorin, this time, in the first round of the Aiteo Cup.
NASARAWA UNITED 1-0 LOBI STARS
Technical Adviser of Nasarawa United Kabiru Dogo had previously stated that his target is to guide the ‘Solid Miners’ to a continental spot on the NPFL table this season but that dream was almost going up in smokes before Jafar Buhari struck deep into added time to hand the Lafia-based side a 1-0 win against Lobi Stars.
With the win, Nasarawa United moved up to 6th on the standings with 50 points, 4 points outside the final continental spot.
Lobi Stars, meanwhile, dropped to 11th on the table as a result of the loss.
ABIA WARRIORS 2-0 SHOOTING STARS
Ndifreke Effiong starred as Abia Warriors dismantled Shooting Stars 2-0 in Umuahia to further steer clear of the relegation zone.
The former Under-23 star gave his side an early lead on 12 minutes, before providing the cross which Alaba Osawea of Shooting Stars turned into his own net.
Abdullahi Biffo’s men have now scored 6 goals in their last two matches, following a 4-2 away win against Lobi Stars a week earlier.
The Umuahia Warriors’ are now 10th on the table with 47 points from 34 matches while the ‘Oluyole Warriors’ drop down to the relegation zone on 17th spot.
REMO STARS 1-3 RIVERS UNITED
Perhaps, the result of the Match Day occurred in Sagamu where Rivers United won away from home for the first time this season, beating hosts Remo Stars 3-1.
Bernard Ovoke, Emeka Ogbugh and Esosa Igbinoba were all on target for the ‘Pride of Rivers’ before Remo’s consolation from Salefu Ochowechi.
The defeat means the ‘Sky Blue Stars’ have been mathematically relegated to the second-tier Nigeria National League after just one season in the top flight.
Rivers United on their part, moved out of the dreaded drop zone with the win.
KATSINA UNITED 2-0 WIKKI TOURISTS
Chinedu Udechukwu and Destiny Ashadi both scored as Katsina United secured a 2-0 win against visiting Wikki Tourists to move up to 12th on the standings.
Wikki slipped to their 16th loss of the season and are now placed 16th on the log, just one point above the danger zone.
GOMBE UNITED 1-0 KANO PILLARS
Gombe United boosted their slim chance of escaping the drop this season after a hard-fought 1-0 win against 4-time champions, Kano Pillars at the Pantami stadium.
Ibrahim Abdullahi fired in a superb freekick five minutes after the break to hand Manu Barba’s wards all three points.
Despite the win, Gombe are still in the drop zone with 40points, four points from safety.
RANGERS 1-0 SUNSHINE STARS
Rangers continued their impressive run under new coach Sylvanus Okpala, beating hard-fighting Sunshine Stars 1-0 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium in Enugu.
Chibuzor Madu converted from the penalty spot in the 27th minute to hand the champions their second win in three matches since Okpala took over the reins.
The ‘Flying Antelopes’ are now three points above the relegation zone in 13th place on the log.
EL KANEMI WARRIORS 2 -0 FC IFEANYIUBAH
El Kanemi Warriors made it 16 wins out of 17 home matches this season after whipping FC IfeaniyiUbah 2-0 in a re-arranged match in Maiduguri on Monday morning.
Estranged Super Eagles defender Chibuzor Okonkwo got the opener against his former club from an indirect free kick just after the half hour mark before Bello Kofarmata sealed the win , converting from the penalty spot with 15 minutes left to play.
The match which was originally billed for Sunday was moved because of a flight hitch that prevented the ‘Anambra Warriors’ from arriving Maiduguri as at when due.
El Kanemi are now up to 5th on the log with 52 points, 2 points away from third-placed Akwa United.
FULL RESULTS OF MATCH DAY 34
Plateau United 1-0 MFM FC
Rangers 1-0 Sunshine Stars
Gombe United 1-0 Kano Pillars
Abia Warriors 2-0 Shooting Stars
Enyimba 3-0 ABS FC
Akwa United 3-0 Niger Tornadoes
Katsina United 2-0 Wikki Tourists
Remo Stars 1-3 Rivers United
Nasarawa United 1-0 Lobi Stars
El kanemi Warriors 2-0 FC IfeanyiUbah