Matchday 22 round-up: Lobi, Rivers Utd sustain pressure on leaders Plateau Utd
By Promise Etim
Plateau United looked to extend their lead at the top to within four points of Lobi Stars and Rivers United but were pegged back as the others also secured wins away from home to Kwara United and Heartland FC, on a matchday that saw two dismissals and 18 goals.
Abdu Maikaba’s men went into the Matchday with a point advantage, hoping a win against Jigawa Stars would help them widen the gaps with Lobi and Rivers.
Salefu Oche Ochowechi gave the home side the lead on 30 minutes against Jigawa Stars at the New Jos Stadium, before Tosin Omoyele doubled their advantage seven minutes later. Some sloppy defending at stoppage time would hand Saleh Ibrahim opportunity to reduce the deficit, but could not change the dynamics of the fixture.
Rivers United continued their impressive run this season with a hard fought win away at Heartland FC. Malachi Ohawume struck in the 71st minute to hand Stanley Eguma’s men the advantage, before sealing the win four minutes later. The result lifts Rivers United to second spot ahead of Lobi Stars, who also got a 1-0 win in Ilorin.
Gbenga Ogunbote’s men gained the advantage on 21 minutes, when Alex Otakho Aghahowa’s brilliant run eluded the home defense, before the midfielder calmly squeezed past Emmanuel Iwu.
Lobi held on to amass all three points, despite seeing off the second half with a man down. The result helped them close in on leaders Plateau United to within a point, while surrendering second spot to Rivers United courtesy of goals difference.
Akwa United’s hopes of catching up with the top three was dashed as they lost away to Abia Warriors in Umuahia. The home side took the lead in the 19th minute, through Shedrack Asiegbu, whose initial penalty was blocked by goalkeeper, Jean Efala. He however recovered on time to guide in the rebound.
Samson Gbadebo drew the Promise Keepers level on 63 minutes, before substitute, Emmanuel Ugwuka grabbed the winner ten minutes from time for Abia. The match was the first of three home games for the Umuahia side under closed door condition.
Uche Onuoha’s stoppage time effort was the difference between FC Ifeanyiubah and MFM FC in Nnewi, while former Enyimba winger Freedom Omofoman ensured Wikki Tourists recorded similar result in Bauchi, against Nasarawa United, with his 27th minute strike.
At the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano, goals from Auwalu Mallam Ali and Usman Babalolo in the 4th and 33rd minute helped Kano Pillars to a 2-0 win at home to Dakkada FC. Pillars edged the Uyo side in the first leg at the Godswill Akpabio stadium.
Sunday Williams, Michael Okoyoh and Mark Daniel got the goals for Warrior Wolves in the 3-0 bashing of visiting Sunshine Stars of Akure. Kabiru Dogo’s men played most of the game with a man down, following the sending off of captain, Sunday Abe in the 37th minute.
Kano Pillars 2-0 Dakkada FC
Kwara Utd 0-1 Lobi Stars
Warri Wolves 3-0 Sunshine Stars
Wikki Tourist 1-0 Nasarawa Utd
Plateau Utd 2-1 Jigawa GS
Rangers 2-0 Adamawa Utd
Abia Warriors 2-1 Akwa Utd
Heartland 0-2 Rivers
FC Ifeanyiubah 1-0 MFM