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Drama in Nnewi as Ifeanyi Ubah delays Akwa United NPFL coronation

Kwara United defeats Kano Pillars as MFM completes stunning comeback against Rivers United

FC Ifeanyi Ubah held NPFL champions-in-waiting Akwa United to a 1-1 draw at the Ifeanyi Ubah Stadium in Nnewi in their Matchday 36 encounter on Wednesday. With their direct rivals Nasarawa United and Kano Pillars failing to win, a win would have secured a first NPFL crown for the Promise Keepers. Captain Ubong Friday could not have chosen a better way to open the scoring in the 79th minute as he sent a 25-yard freekick into the top corner for the visitors. Akwa United’s celebrations were cut short when Ifeanyi Ubah’s Uzochukwu Ifejiofor flicked home a header beyond the Akwa United goalkeeper Jean Efala with three minutes left to play in the game. The result was enough to secure continental football for Akwa United next season, and they only need to pick up one point from their next two games to be crowned champions.

Kwara United defeated Kano Pillars 1-0 at the Kwara State Sports Complex to keep their hopes of securing a continental ticket alive. The Afonja Warriors striker Michael Ohanu scored the game’s only goal in the 21st minute to take his tally for the season to 12 in the league. The win takes Kwara United to within three points of third-place Enyimba with two games left in the season. Kano Pillars remain two points ahead of Kwara United in fourth place on the NPFL log.

MFM completed a brilliant comeback against Rivers United in their NPFL Matchday 36 encounter as they recovered from a two-goal deficit to draw the game in time added on. Goals from Nelson Esor in the 8th minute and Joseph Onoja in the 80th minute put the Pride of Rivers in the driving seat before Imeh Atobasi pulled one back for the Church Boys at the Soccer Temple in Agege in the 93rd minute, and four minutes later, a Michael Mbonu rocket nestled in the back of the Rivers United net to ensure that MFM took one point from the encounter. Their opponents would now turn their attention to their Aiteo Cup semifinal against Bayelsa United at the same venue. Rivers United are in 5th place on 60 points, two points behind third placed Enyimba.

Enyimba were held by Lobi Stars 1-1 at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi in their Matchday 36 clash. Samuel Tiza barely gave the People’s Elephant any time to settle as he put Lobi Stars ahead inside the first minute of the match. Enyimba winger Anayo Iwuala was a driving force for his side, and it finally paid off when he was upended in the Lobi Stars box and awarded a penalty which was dispatched clinically by Reuben Bala to draw Enyimba level on the stroke of halftime. The draw and results elsewhere have seen Enyimba climb back into the continental places as they sit in third place on the NPFL table level on points with Nasarawa United in second.

Nasarawa United were held to a drab goalless draw by Dakkada FC at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo in their NPFL Matchday 36 fixture. The Solid Miners were looking to mount a late challenge to Akwa United’s title pursuit, but were unable to defeat Akwa United’s neighbours. NPFL top scorer Silas Nwankwo was kept quiet by the Dakkada backline as they kept the Nasarawa United attack at bay, ensuring that the spoils were shared evenly. Nasarawa United remains in 2nd place on 62 points, six points behind Akwa United. The Solid Miners now face an Aiteo Cup semifinal clash against Sunshine Stars next before returning to NPFL action at the weekend.

Rangers International defeated Katsina United 1-0 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu to keep their hopes of securing a continental ticket alive. Elijah Ani scored the game’s only goal after 70 minutes when he headed home a pinpoint cross from Ibrahim Olawoyin. The Flying Antelopes now have 59 points and are three points outside of the continental places with two games left in the season.

Jigawa Golden Stars and Warri Wolves played out a 1-1 draw in their relegation six-pointer at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna. Efe Yarhere opened the scoring for the Seasiders just 14 minutes into the game before Saidu Abdullahi equalised for the home side to ensure that the spoils were shared. Both sides are in the relegation zone and have two games to save themselves.

Sunshine Stars secured a dramatic 3-2 victory over Plateau United in their NPFL Matchday 36 clash at the Ondo State Sports Complex. Sadeeq Yusuf opened the scoring for the Akure Gunners before Aliyu Bala equalised for the Peace Boys in the first half. Kolade Adeniji scored to restore the home side’s advantage just after the hour mark before Mohammed Zilkifilu slotted home from the spot to make it 2-2 in the 81st minute. Ejike Uzoechi hit an unstoppable rocket two minutes later to secure the win for the Akure Gunners and take them out of the relegation zone with two games left in the season. Their focus now turns to their Aiteo Cup semifinal date against Nasarawa United.

Abia Warriors hammered already relegated Adamawa United 5-1 at the Okigwe Township Stadium to move four points clear of the relegation zone with two matches to go. Obioma Chukwuemeka scored a hat trick for the Umuahia Landlords, with Godwin Obaje and Yakub Hammed adding the other goals. Anayo Ogbonna scored the consolation goal for Adamawa United.

Wikki Tourists defeated Heartland convincingly 4-2 at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium in Bauchi in their NPFL Matchday 36 clash. Eric Dufegha opened the scoring for the home side inside two minutes before captain Idris Guda Muhammed added a second. Chidiebere Ajoku pulled one back for Heartland after 31 minutes before Promise Damala and Habibu Sufyan put Wikki 4-1 up and Kingsley Maduforo scored the second Heartland goal in the 84th minute.

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