NPFL: Lobi, Rivers Sustain Pressure on Plateau with Wins Away
By Promise Etim
Plateau United looked to extend their lead at the top of the NPFL 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 match-day that saw two dismissals and 18 goals.
Abdul Maikaba’s men went into the Match-day with a point advantage, hoping a win against Jigawa would help them widen the gaps with Lobi and Rivers.
Oche Salefu gave the home side the lead on 30 minutes against Jigawa Stars at the New Jos Stadium, before Tosin Omoleye 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 on the other hand continued their impressive run this season with a hard fought win away at Heartland FC. Michael Ohawume struck in the 71st minute to hand Eguma’s men the advantage, before sealing the win four minutes later. The result lifts Rivers to second spot ahead of Lobi Stars, who also got a 1-0 win in Ilorin.
Gbenaga Ogunbote’s men gained the advantage on 21 minutes, when Alex 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.
Sampson Gbadegbo 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 IfeanyjUbah and MFM 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 Auwala Mallam 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 Okoyo and Mark David 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.
MATCH DAY 22
Kano Pillars 2-0 Dakkada
Kwara Utd 0-1 Lobi
W’Wolves 3-0 Sunshine
Wikki 1-0 Nasarawa Utd
Plateau Utd 2-1 Jigawa GS
Rangers 2-0 Adamawa Utd
A’Warriors 2-1 Akwa Utd
Heartland 0-2 Rivers Utd
FC Ifeanyi Uba 1-0 MFM