Two of the NPFL title contenders, Rivers United and Akwa United, played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt in their crunch NPFL Matchday 33 encounter. The league’s leaders opened the scoring through in-form striker Charles Atshimene after 53 minutes before a cross-cum-shot from Bamba Bakary deceived Jean Efala in the Akwa United goal and nestled into his near post in the 87th minute of the game. Akwa United remain on top of the log but have seen their lead cut to just three points. Their 61 points accrued this season under coach Kenedy Boboye is the highest ever in the history of the club. The Promise Keepers face two sides in the relegation zone at home in their next two matches as they look to secure their first-ever league title.
Kano Pillars did light work of Dakkada FC at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna, running out 2-0 victors thanks to two goals in two first-half minutes from captain Rabiu Ali and David Ebuka in the 38th and 40th minutes of the encounter. Ali found the back of the net for the 13th time this season following a neat touch and peach of a strike from outside the box before Ebuka doubled their advantage with a solo effort. Dakkada had a legitimate goal controversially ruled out by the referee in the encounter. Sai Masu Gida are now only three points behind Akwa United on the NPFL log as they look to take advantage of any slip-ups from the Uyo-based side with only five games of the season left.
Nasarawa United made their way past MFM FC at the Lafia Township Stadium thanks to an early goal from red-hot striker Silas Nwankwo in the 15th minute. Nwankwo’s strike took him to 14 goals in the league this season, making him the league’s leading marksman. The Solid Miners’ win takes them to 58 points, only three behind Akwa United with five games left to conclude the NPFL season.
Enyimba were made to come from behind to pick up a 2-1 win at home to relegation-threatened Jigawa Golden Stars at the Enyimba International Stadium. Bature Sanni opened the scoring for the away side two minutes before half-time with a neat finish before Reuben Bala equalised for Enyimba two minutes into the second half. The People’s Elephant finally got their winner when Tosin Omoyele headed home an inviting Imoh Obot cross in the 88th minute of the match. Enyimba’s win takes them to 57 points, only four points behind Akwa United on the NPFL log with only five games to play.
Kwara United fell to a shock 1-0 defeat to Warri Wolves at the Ozoro Poly Stadium in Delta as their title bid is almost mathematically over. Williams Sunday scored the only goal for the Seasiders on their own turf in the 48th minute to give them a hard-earned win at home and put them on 34 points, level with 18th placed Ifeanyi Ubah as they plot to escape relegation. They face a daunting trip to Uyo next, with a match against Akwa United on the horizon.
Heartland defeated Rangers 2-1 in their Oriental derby to claim derby bragging rights, with all of the game’s goals coming in the first half. Chijioke Mbaoma opened the scoring for the Naze Millionaires after just 11 minutes before substitute Elijah Ani equalised for the Flying Antelopes after 24 minutes. Chijioke Akuneto had the final say as he scored the winner in the 37th minute to seal all three points for Heartland on their own turf in the NPFL Matchday 33 fixture.
Plateau United showed no mercy as they pummelled FC Ifeanyi Ubah 4-0 at the New Jos Stadium. Goals from Daniel Jackson, Oche Ochowechi, Muhammed Zulkifilu and Nenrot Silas were enough for the Peace Boys to pick up all three points on offer and leave the Anambra Warriors on the brink of relegation.
Katsina United and Lobi Stars played out a 1-1 draw at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium in Katsina in their NPFL Matchday 33 encounter. Samuel Tiza opened the scoring for the away side after only six minutes before Rasheed Ahmed equalised for the Changi Boys after 33 minutes.
Wikki Tourists defeated Abia Warriors 1-0 at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium in Bauchi thanks to a 56th minute strike from midfielder Sale Ibrahim. Abia Warriors’ poor run of form in the league of recent has continued, and they sit only two points and two places above the relegation zone.
Adamawa United and Sunshine Stars played out a drab 0-0 draw at Pantami Stadium in Gombe. Both sides came close to scoring, but were unable to find the net. Adamawa United remain rooted to the bottom of the NPFL standings, and Sunshine Stars are only one point and one place outside the relegation zone.