The Agege Soccer Temple was primed to be the star attraction of matchday 33 of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) as second placed MFM looked to continue their push for an unprecedented league title with a crunch game against Enyimba, but a lackluster barren draw was all fans could get for all their eager anticipation.
MFM were boosted by the availability of Stephen Odey who was initially feared to be tied down by other commitments; but in a game full of energy but void of cutting edge, the host were almost in front early on when a telling pass put Chukwuma Onuwa in good position to score, but the petit midfielder failed to shoot with power and his strike was thus easily gathered by Enyimba goalkeeper Theophilos Afelokhai.
Onuwa was soon after involved in another goal mouth action when Afelokhai appeared to have tripped him inside the box, but the referee adjudged it a dive and booked the MFM man.
The Church Boys continued to make constant incursions into the Enyimba area, even until the second half, but indecisive marksmanship was their bane as they dropped two title-pushing points on home turf.
Plateau United, meanwhile, ensured that their 3 points lead at the top of the table remained intact as they secured a rare 1-1 draw against Kano Pillars at the Sani Abacha Stadium. The visitors, who had not picked a point from Kano in 7 years were fired into the lead in the 17th minute when Ibeh Johnson capitalized on a poor clearance by the Pillars back line to shoot home. But from then on, the Kennedy Boboye-led side had goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye to thank as the former youth international showcased the best version of goalkeeping to deny Rabiu Ali and Alassan Ibrahim. The jinx was eventually broken 7 minutes after the break with Hamza Tiya’s low strike.
In Makurdi, Sunday Adetunji was taken to hospital with a broken hand but, certainly, with his head held high as his brace helped Abia Warriors to a famous 4-2 win over Lobi Stars. It was the host who took the lead in the highly entertaining match through Kingsley Eduwo’s strike just before the half hour, but Adetunji’s goal 9 minutes later kept scores at par going into the break. The visitors came back stronger in the second half with Anthony Okemiri scoring to put them ahead in the in the 61st minute, before assisting Adetunji to extend the lead and complete his brace. Shortly after, Adetunji was taken straight to hospital with what looked like a horrific hand break, but Warriors were not going to be repressed as Chinenye Agoha scored a fourth in the third of added minutes. Though too late, Lobi found time to draw one back through Kingsley Eduwo.
Elsewhere, FC Ifeanyi Uba returned smiles to the faces of their fans with a slender 1-0 win over Nasarawa United. The Anambra Warriors who failed to pick maximum points in their last outing on home turf, had Pascal Seka to thank as it was his 18th minute strike that secured all three points.
In Ilorin, two goals on either extremes of the game gave ABS a vital win over Remo Stars. Samuel Oyedeji gave ABS an early lead in the western derby, but the host were made to wait until the final minute of the encounter for Alalade Wasiu to seal the win. The result means ABS are out of the dreaded relegation zone for the first time in recent weeks. Remo, meanwhile, remain bottom on the log and can be relegated as early as next weekend.
ALL MATCHDAY 33 RESULTS
Kano Pillars 1 – 1 Plateau United
FC IfeanyiUbah 1 – 0 Nasarawa United
MFM 0 – 0 Enyimba
Niger Tornadoes 1 – 0 El-Kanemi Warriors
ABS 2 – 0 Remo Stars
Shooting Stars 2 – 1 Gombe United
Sunshine Stars 1 – 0 Akwa United
Lobi Stars 2 – 4 Abia Warriors
Wikki Tourists 1 – 1 Rangers
The final game of the match day will be played in Port Harcourt on Monday as Rivers United host Katsina United.