NPFL Roundup Akwa Still Top as Sunshine Move Out of Relegation Zone
By Diegwu Nwankwor
Akwa United made yet a big statement of their title aspiration with a draw in Jos on Matchday31 of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) on a day rivals, Kano Pillars made light work of Lobi Stars to reduce the gap to two points at the top of the table.
But the big achievers of the day was Sunshine Stars who are out of the relegation zone after a surprise away win against Heartland.
Akwa United played away in Jos but missed the chance to extend their lead at the top of the table after a goalless draw with Plateau United at the New Jos Stadium. Despite creating lots of chances to subdue the league leaders, Plateau United were unable to convert any to give Pillars what might prove to be a valuable point.
Kano Pillars played in Kaduna and are now two points off the top of the table after a comprehensive 3-0 win over Lobi Stars at Ahmadu Bello Stadium.
Umar Hassan opened scoring in the 37th minute before two second half goals from David Ebuka (49th) and club legend Rabiu Ali (63rd) ensured all three points for Pillars.
In Ilorin, Kwara United are back to winning ways and back into the top three after beating Enugu Rangers 2-0 at the Kwara State Sports Complex. Kabiru Balogun gave United the lead in the 63rd minute before Falaloya Olawale scored in the 86th minute to ensure all three points.
In Aba, record winners Enyimba and Rivers United missed a chance to close the gap on Akwa United after a 1-1 draw at the Enyimba International Stadium. Rivers United took the lead in the 33rd minute through Malachi Ohawume but The People’s Elephant equalized just after halftime through Sadiq Abubakar in the 48th minute.
On the other side of the table, Warri Wolves boosted its chances of avoiding relegation from the NPFL with a 2-0 win over Abia Warriors at the Delta State Polytechnic Ozoro. Two 1st half goals from William Sunday in the 2nd minute and Emmanuel Ihezuo in the 14th minute was all the Seasiders needed. Wolves are now 2 points from safety.
Katsina United have now moved 9 points clear of the relegation zone after beating FC IfeanyiUbah 3-0 at the Mohamed Dikko Stadium. Again striker Samuel Kalu was the hero of the day after getting a 1st half brace in the 24th and 30th minute while Atule Joseph scored the third goal in the 35th minute to complete a memorable performance for Katsina United.
In Bauchi, Wikki Tourists edged Dakkada FC 2-1 with goals from Nafizi Yahaya and Sale Ibrahim while Karim Abdoulaye scored for Dakkada FC. The win also means that The Tourists are now six points from the relegation zone.
Meanwhile, Adamawa United’s chances of avoiding relegation are getting slimmer after a 1-1 draw with MFM FC at the Pantami Stadium Gombe. Adamawa United took an early lead in the 4th minute through Michael Bolaji but MFM FC rallied back in the 2nd half to equalize through Izuchukwu Chimezie.
In the late kickoff in Owerri, Sunshine moved out of the relegation zone after a priceless 0-1 away win against Heartland FC at the Dan Ayam Stadium. Ifeagwu Ojukwu scored the the game’s only goal in the 59th minute.
*NPFL21 MD31 Results*
Enyimba 1-1 Rivers Utd
Plateau Utd 0-0 Akwa Utd
Katsina Utd 3-0 FC Ifeanyiubah
Adamawa Utd 1-1 MFM FC
Kano Pillars 3-0 Lobi Stars
Wikki 2-1 Dakkada FC
Kwara Utd 2-0 Rangers
Wolves 2-0 Abia Warriors
Heartland FC 1-0 Sunshine FC