The reigning champions have benefited from two consecutive home wins to open an unassailable gap at the top as ABS thrashed Enyimba and Bayelsa United returned to second spot
KANO PILLARS 4-0 GOMBE UNITED
The Kano team have sounded bold warnings to their rivals for the league shield that they would have to wait till next season after they chalked up two crucial wins against Heartland (1-0) and Gombe United (4-0) to stay five points clear of nearest challengers, Bayelsa United.
Mohammed Baba Ganaru’s lads showed the reason they are the team to beat this season after winning their first league title in four years last season with an impressive display against bad travellers, Gombe United at the Sani Abacha Stadium.
Manir Ubale got the curtain raiser in the 20th minute and the lead was doubled two minutes later by Promise James. Rabiu Ali and Buhari Musa netted the other two goals in the 60th and 79th minutes to increase Pillars goals difference to +5 with 22 goals scored and 17 conceded after 16 games. They have 31 points.
Pillars however have a mountain to climb this weekend in Port Harcourt in their bid to preserve their new found form when they visit wounded Dolphins at the Liberation Stadium, Elekahia.
Gombe United still have a lot of work to do if they want to halt their indifferent away record which presently stands at no points gained from eight road trips. They have, however, been ruthless at home with only two points lost from a possible 24 in the ties played at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe.
Maurice Cooreman and his wards have 22 points from 16 games and they must continue their near invincibility at home this weekend against relegation battlers Wikki Tourists if they do not want to be plunged into relegation zone themselves.
ABS 3-0 ENYIMBA
The Ilorin club no doubt have the result of the week after their near perfect display against the Peoples Elephant at the Kwara International Stadium on Wednesday.
ABS beat same team 3-1 last season but this term with the club in serious battle to avoid the drop and Enyimba's above average output in some of their games this season, football purists have predicted a close contest in Ilorin but were left bemused at the 3-0 score line.
Stone Evbawien towed ABS to the path of victory as early as the 23rd minute before club's leading scorer, Ichull Lordson increased the tally from the penalty spot in the 70th minute after enterprising striker Ajibola Otegbeye was felled in the 18 yard box. Sala Abiodun 73rd minute clincher ended the game as a contest with about 17 minutes still to play.
The defeat suffered by the Aba Millionaires may be of great consequence to the technical crew led by Salisu Yusuf. They coaches and the players have been sitting on the keg of gunpowder having had their salaries slashed because of unimpressive results.
ABS have 19 points from 16 but still remained 19th on the log after their fellow relegation battlers won their home fixtures too in Maiduguri, Katsina Ala and Bauchi respectively.
Enyimba on their part are still within the top 10 in spite of the loss. They have 22 points from 16 ties. The Aba side have a tough fixture against Sunshine Stars on Sunday at the Enyimba International Stadium and anything short of victory could be accompanied by a stern statement from the Enyimba management. ABS on their own will visit Nembe City in search of more points this weekend.
3SC 3-1 NEMBE CITY
The Oluyole Warriors have added three points to their points haul to boost their chances of getting a continental berth at the end of the season at the expense of the premier league newcomers at the Lekan Salami Sports Complex,Ibadan.
The Yenagoa based side held 3SC to a standstill in the first half but they couldn't stop Taofeek Adegoke, who was making his first start of the season from scoring two goals in the 48th and 61st minutes.
Nembe strove to impose themselves on the game and their struggle paid dividends as they drew one back through Okiki Musampa in the 76th minute. But Shooting Stars injury proned Gabriel Adiukwu extinguished Nembe's hope of an unlikely comeback with the third goal in the 81st minute.
3SC are on 22 points from 16 games while Nembe are a point ahead of their conquerors from the same number of matches. 3SC will visit Warri Wolves this weekend in search of their first away win this season while Nembe welcome ABS to the Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa this weekend.
BAYELSA UNITED 2-0 KADUNA UNITED
The elite division returnees Bayelsa United are gradually without notice taking the premier league this season by storm even though without much hype.
The Yenagoa team have won all their home matches till date with the latest a 2-0 win against Kaduna United and they have also drawn twice on the road at volatile Maiduguri and Enugu.
Bayelsa United are back to second spot on the table after two breathtaking goals from Peter Ebimobowei guaranteed all points against their northern opponents.
The Yenagoa side have 26 points from 16 matches. They are on the second spot behind Pillars while Kaduna United remained on 20 points from same number of games. Bayelsa United will wish for a more improved defence when they face Kwara United in Ilorin this weekend after they were turned to shred by Warri Wolves 4-0 in their last away fixture but Kaduna United will be at their familiar terrain Kaduna Township Stadium as they host Akwa United.
LOBI STARS 1-0 DOLPHINS
The Makurdi Arsenal cannot steer clear of controversies after another tempestuous lone goal win at home to Dolphins at the dreaded Akume Atongo Stadium in Katsina Ala.
Two penalty kicks were awarded the home team and the head coach of the visiting team, Stanley Eguma was given a red card by the centre referee Aminu Mammga from Zamfara 10 minutes from time over his verbal assault on the Assistant Referee Shina Sadiq from Sokoto.
Chimaobi Nwaogu lost the first penalty kick in the 68th minute after shooting directly into the waiting hands of Dolphins' goalkeeper Austin Brown but the Makurdi based side were not too long thereafter presented another opportunity to grab the maximum points after Eguma's dismissal. The chance came in the stoppage time when the referee adjudged that Lobi's striker, Tony Okpotu was manhandled in Dolphins vital area. Terkaa Melai the Lobi's goalkeeper however converted the spot kick to return the club back to winning ways after their shocking 1-0 home loss to Kwara United.
Lobi are now on 21 points from 16 matches and will have another advantage to extend their points' haul with another home game against El Kanemi Warriors on Sunday while Dolphins will have to be at their best to beat rejuvenated Pillars this weekend. The Port Harcourt dwellers are on 24 points from 16 fixtures.
EL KANEMI WARRIORS 1-0 HEARTLAND
The Maiduguri side have notched another important home win after defeating Heartland 1-0 at the volatile region on Wednesday in the tie decided at the El Kanemi Stadium.
Nothing much was heard about the tie besides the scoreline because of the poor communication system in Maiduguri which was brought about by the war against the Islamic sect Boko Haram in the state.
The Naze Millionaires made it two losses from their last two fixtures but are still among the top three clubs in the land because of the plenty goals they have recorded this term. They have 25 points from 16 games and their +11 goals difference pipped Kwara United to fourth spot while El Kanemi Warriors have now amassed 21 points from as many games to take a sprint off relegation problem.
Heartland will play their third consecutive away tie this weekend as they travel to Enugu in an oriental derby against Enugu Rangers as El Kanemi Warriors embark on a long road trip to Katsina Ala as guest of Lobi Stars.
WIKKI TOURISTS 2-1 KWARA UNITED
Wikki Tourists eased their relegation woes with an important home win over away game specialised, Kwara United in Bauchi.
Ibrahim Shaibu drew the first blood of the match in the 45th minute but the Afonja Warriors levelled up the game three minutes after the restart of the second half. Wikki later got the match-winner in the 54th minute from the penalty kick converted by Shakil Bolaji.
Wikki have now garnered 20 points from 16 games to occupy 17th position on the log but Kwara United are fourth despite the loss with 25 points from 16 games.
Wikki will take a short trip to Gombe United at the Pantami Stadium this weekend while Kwara United play host to Bayelsa United in a top of the table clash in Ilorin.
AKWA UNITED VS WARRI WOLVES (ABANDONED)
The NPFL Week 16 tie was declared inconclusive by the centre referee Henry Ogunyamodi from Ondo State who allegedly called off the match after halftime after he was said to have been attacked by the Akwa United fans despite the home team at the driver's seat by 2-0.
The game which was shown live on television was short of controversy in the first half but during the halftime it was alleged that fans of the home team swarmed on the centre referee and beat up that he had to run for his safety.
When he was later found after the fracas Referee Ogunyamodi allegedly said he would not continue the match for safety reasons and he thereafter declared the tie inconclusive to the disappointment of Akwa United's players and officials.
Akwa United are still on 20 points from 15 games while Warri Wolves have 21 points from same number of matches.
Akwa United must behind them the unfortunate incident in Uyo as they visit Kaduna United this weekend while Warri Wolves will be at home to 3SC.