Akwa Go Five Points Clear As Nasarawa, Pillars and Kwara Lose, Rivers Back into the Top Three
by Diegwu Nwankwor
Akwa United edged closer to its first ever league title after coming out tops against rivals Enyimba. Elsewhere, its dismay for Nasarawa United, Kwara United and Kano Pillars after all three title chasers lost in what was a goal filled Matchday 32 in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
In the big match of the weekend where league leaders Akwa United clashed with record winners Enyimba at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo. Akwa United won the match 1-0 thanks to a late penalty conversion from Charles Atshimene in the 90th minute. The Promise Keepers are now five points clear at the top of the table and six points off Enyimba.
Nasarawa United’s title seeking campaign took a heavy blow after a 2-1 defeat against struggling FC IfeanyiUbah in Nnewi. In what was a must win match for both sides, it was the Anambra Warriors that took the lead in the 28th minute through Nonso Nzediegwu before Chigozie Obasi equalized for Nasarawa United in the 30th minute. It was FC IfeanyiUbah that had the last laugh after Uzochukwu Ifejiofor scored the winner in the 71st minute.
Rivers United are back into the top three and five points from the top of the table after a 2-1 win over Warri Wolves. It was the visitors that took an early 3rd minute lead through Emmanuel Ihezuo and looked like they had their luck cut out for them to get something from the match when Godwin Aguda missed a penalty in the 14th minute. However, the former Rangers man made amends when he equalized in the 23rd minute before getting his brace in the 60th minute to seal all three points for the Pride of Rivers.
Kwara United are five points off the top of the table losing away to Abia Warriors 1-2 at the Okigwe Township Stadium. An early 1st half goal from Jide Fatokun in the 8th minute gave the Harmony Boys the lead but Paul Samson scored with a volley from 15 yards to level the score for Abia Warriors before Chukwuemeka Obioma completed the come back in the 90th minute . Abia Warriors are fourteenth, two points off the relegation zone.
In Enugu, Rangers earned a hard-fought 2-1 win over Wikki Tourist at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium. Two early goals from Godspower Aniefiok (2nd minute) and Ugwuoke Uzochukwu (20th minute) handed the Flying Antelopes the lead while an own-goal from Ernest Governor was only a consolation for Wikki who are just two points off the relegation zone.
In Akure, Sunshine dented Kano Pillars chances of winning the league after a 1-0 win at the Akure Township Stadium. Sadiq Yusuf scored the winner in the 59th minute to ensure that the Owena Whales remain two points off the relegation zone while Pillars are now fourth, three points from league leaders Akwa United.
In Makurdi, Lobi Stars returned to winning ways with a 1-0 win over Adamawa United who are all but relegated from the NPFL. Nnamdi Mejuobi scored the only goal of the match in the 32nd minute.
Elsewhere in the NPFL, Jigawa Golden Stars maintained its chances of avoiding relegation after a 1-0 win over Plateau United thanks to a Bature Sanni goal in the 90th minute. Jigawa are only in the relegation zone on goal difference as they are level on points with Sunshine Stars (36 points).
MATCHDAY 32 RESULTS
Dakkada 1-0 Heartland
Akwa Utd 1-0 Enyimba
Jigawa Stars 1-0 Plateau Utd
FC IfeanyiUbah 2-1 Nasarawa Utd
MFM 0-0 Katsina Utd
Lobi 1-0 Adamawa Utd
Sunshine Stars 1-0 Kano Pillars
Rangers 2-1 Wikki
Abia Warriors 2-1 Kwara Utd
Rivers Utd 2-1 Wolves