Akwa United’s unbeaten run ended; Nasarawa, Pillars close in on leaders
By Fisayo Dairo
League leaders Akwa United were dealt a double blow on Sunday after they saw their historic 18-match unbeaten run brought to an end by Katsina United on a day their nearest challengers Nasarawa United and Kano Pillars cut their lead to just one point.
Winger Samuel Kalu scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot to give Katsina United a 1-0 win over Akwa United who suffered defeat for the first time since MatchDay 10 at Nasarawa United.
Akwa United’s loss allowed second and third placed Nasarawa United and Kano Pillars move to within a point of the league leaders after home wins on Sunday.
In Lafia, Nasarawa United edged Rivers United 2-1 to stay in second place. The hosts shot into the lead in the 22nd minute through right back Chigozie Obasi before doubling their advantage on the hour mark through midfielder Tochukwu Michael.
Rivers halved the deficit courtesy of a Godwin Aguda penalty in the 68th minute but that was all Stanley Eguma’s men could get from the game.
Kano Pillars stayed in touch with the top two with a hard-earned win over FC Ifeanyiubah in Kaduna. Ebuka David Odenigbo scored in the 36th minute, what turned out to be the only goal of the game to give Sai Masu Gida an important win which does their title credentials a whole deal of good.
Kwara United defeated Sunshine Stars 1-0 in Ilorin to earn their first home win in nine years over the troubled Owena Whales. Striker Michael Ohanu ended a ten-game goal drought in the sixth minute after Sunshine defenders failed to deal with a Joshua Agboola set play and thus give the Harmony Warriors maximum points.
Kwara United are now 4th on the log, courtesy of a superior goals difference over Enyimba who produced a superb defensive display to hold Plateau United 0-0 in Jos. The People’s Elephant will also have their Togolese goalkeeper Sabirou Bassa-Djeri to thank even though centre back Timothy Danladi got sent off in stoppage time.
Dakkada FC recorded consecutive away wins for the first time in their top flight history after a shock 0-1 win over Abia Warriors in Okigwe. In-form winger Isaac George volleyed home in the 76th minute to condemn Imama Amapakabo’s Warriors to three defeats in seven days.
In the day’s early kickoff at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi, Wikki Tourists edged Lobi Stars by a lone goal to further ease their relegation worries. Team captain Idris Mohammed Guda scored the only goal from the penalty spot in the 16th minute.
In Owerri, Heartland FC defeated MFM FC 2-0 in a tempestuous contest at the Dan Anyiam Stadium. Right back Chidera Eze gave Heartland the lead in the sixth minute before both teams had players sent off in the second half.
Eze himself received the marching orders shortly after MFM goalkeeper Adeniyi Bamidele was dismissed for a second bookable offence. Super sub Kingsley Maduforo sealed the game off in the sixth minute of stoppage time with a fine finish to give Fidelis Ilechukwu another win over his former side.
Second from bottom Warri Wolves remain rooted in 19th spot after another home loss in Ozoro, this time to Rangers International. The Flying Antelopes stunned their hosts in the 63rd minute through Christian Nnaji’s strike to extend Wolves’ losing streak to four consecutive losses.
Bottom-of-the-table Adamawa United are not ready to give up yet and they recorded an emphatic 2-0 win over Jigawa Golden Stars in Gombe. Anayo Ogbonna headed home in the 14th minute to give his side the lead before Henry Ochuba doubled the advantage just before half time with another header.