NFPL: Wikki Stay Top after Away Win against Ikorodu Utd

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  • As  Rangers stun hosts Heartland in ‘Oriental Derby’
Wikki Tourists maintained top spot in the Nigeria league yesterday after their lone goal win against bottom club Ikorodu United in Lagos.
The Bauchi club waited till five minutes from time to deliver the killer punch through Idris Guda.
The woes of basement club Ikorodu United have been compounded as they languish on 13 points.
In another top match lastnight, Coach Imama Amapakabo’s mind games prior to the latest ‘Oriental Derby’ against Heartland in Owerri seems to have paid off as his Rangers side came from behind to beat ‘The Naze Millionaires’ 2-1.
Heartland must be wondering what went wrong as they took the lead as early as the 12th minute through Julius Ubido, but lost the advantage only five minutes later, with former midfielder Osas Okoro assisting with the free-kick which Udeagha connected to level the scores.
Amapakabo had challenged his Heartland counterpart, Alphonsus Dike, to employ a more attacking approach, as against their ultra-defensive approach when both teams met in the final game of the first half of the season in Enugu.
And Dike appeared to have taken the bait, as they attacked ceaselessly, but ‘The Flying Antelopes’ kept keeping them at bay, and Heartland failing to make anything of their attacks, leading the first half to end in a stalemate.
The second half resumed with Heartland still trying to go for the kill, but Rangers still looked the more tactical side in their approach as they sought to catch Dike’s men on the break.
And it soon paid, as a quick buildup by Rangers saw a pass floated into the Heartland area, with Bobby Clement racing toward goal, but he was hacked down inside the box by Anyanwu, and the referee wasted no time in pointing to the spot.
Chisom Egbuchulam, who had missed from the spot in the previous match-up, stepped up again, but he found the back of the net this time to hand Rangers the lead and the momentum.
And while Heartland kept pressing for at least an equaliser, Rangers kept their shape and kept trying to catch them napping with fast breaks.
Meanwhile, Coach Gbenga Ogunbote returned to Shooting Stars in fine style when he led the team to only their sixth win of the season as they dumped Akwa United 3-0.
A brace from Adetunji Sunday and a goal from Ajani Ibrahim were enough to see Ogunbote start his second spell in Ibadan with an emphatic win.
‘The Oluyole Warriors’ showed their intent as early as the 12th minute, when left-back Yinka Adedeji let fly a thunderous effort from range, which could have given them the lead, but forced a fantastic save from United goalkeeper, Akpan Bassey.
But it didn’t take long however, for Shooting to go in front, as Ajani Ibrahim’s sublime cross was met by Adetunji Ibrahim, who powered home a beautiful header past the stranded Bassey for their opening goal.
Shooting kept pressing the ‘Promise Keepers’, much to the delight of the fans at the Lekan Salami Stadium.
United were not without chances of their own, but nothing came of them, as Shooting Stars remained resolute in their determination to stem their slide on the table.
And shortly before the break, Ajani Ibrahim turned from provider to goal-scorer as he finished off a delightful move from the home side to send their fans to wild eruption, and also maintain their advantage as they went into the break.
United must have hoped to start the second half with a goal to half the deficit, but they got a yellow card instead when goalkeeper Bassey cautioned for what he said to the referee.
And while, the tenacity from both sides seemed to have faded a bit in the second half, Shooting Stars were still in cruise control as they dictated the tempo of the game, with United struggling to come to grips with their quick passing.
And on the hour mark, ‘The Oluyole Warriors’ scored again – Adetunji Sunday nicely controlled a pass, went past some United defenders before toe-poking into the goal for his brace and Shooting’s third of the evening.
RESULTS
Kano Pillars 1 – 0 Plateau Utd
Heartland 1 – 2 Rangers
Ikorodu Utd 0 – 1 Wikki Tourists
Sunshine Stars 1 – 1 Abia Warriors
3SC 3 – 0 Akwa United
Rivers Utd 1 – 0 Lobi Stars
Nasarawa Utd 2 – 1 Enyimba
Niger Tornadoes 2 – 1 FC Ifeanyiubah
Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Wikki Tourists 19 10 4 5 29 12 17 34
Rivers Utd 19 11 1 7 21 15 6 34
Kano Pillars 19 9 5 5 26 17 9 32
Rangers 19 9 5 5 28 22 6 32
Enyimba 18 9 3 6 21 18 3 30
Sunshine Stars 19 7 7 5 24 18 6 28
Abia Warriors 18 7 7 4 20 16 4 28
Lobi Stars 19 8 4 7 20 17 3 28
MFM FC 18 7 6 5 19 16 3 27
Akwa Utd 19 8 3 8 22 20 2 27
FC Ifeanyiubah 19 8 3 8 18 19 -1 27
El-Kanemi 19 8 1 10 22 24 -2 25
Tornadoes 19 8 1 10 22 25 -3 25
Warri Wolves 19 7 4 8 13 17 -4 25
Nasarawa Utd 19 8 0 11 19 25 -6 24
Heartland 19 5 6 8 13 18 -5 21
Plateau Utd 19 4 8 7 17 25 -8 20
3SC 19 6 2 11 20 31 -11 20
Ikorodu Utd 19 3 4 12 13 32 -19 13