The Afonja Warriors are gradually warming up to be counted among the frontrunners for the race to the league title after they got another important win away to Heartland
HEARTLAND 0-1 KWARA UNITED
The Afonja Warriors got a morale boosting away win at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri against hapless Heartland to record their third road win of the season under coach Samson Unuanel.
Kwara United beat Sharks and Lobi Stars in Port Harcourt and Katsina Ala respectively during the first stanza and got a point each at Aba, Ilorin (ABS) and Ibadan before these important three points at beleaguered Heartland.
Sidi Lawal stepped up to the plate to net the decider in the 55th minute off a nice counter attack after Heartland's attacking forays failed to yield any dividend.
Kwara United are fourth with 38 points from 24 games and they are fancied to go a step higher with a home game against Rangers at midweek. Heartland are in the 15th position with 31 points and they may find themselves struggling with relegation if they are unable to get a win against Gombe United on Wednesday.
The club's management already suspended the technical crew because of the home loss while former player of the side, Mangut Mbwas and Bob Acholonu have been installed to lead the team to Gombe.
3SC 3-1 KANO PILLARS
Inconsistent Oluyole Warriors put up a display expected of them to ease their relegation worries after a 3-1 thrashing of Masu Gida in a thrilling game played at the Lekan Salami Sport Complex, Ibadan.
3SC further exposed the frailty of the league's reigning champions and have made a bold statement to indicate that Pillars do not deserve to retain the league because of their heavy losses away from Kano this season.
Pillars benefitted from good start to the season but it seemed the club is virtually losing the steam with which to remain at the top and it is only time that will tell if they will be able to survive the heat.
Without their inspirational head coach, Mohammed Baba Ganaru at the dugout, Pillars were ordinary and no wonder 3SC put them to the sword courtesy of Kingsley Eduwo's double in the 19th and 72nd minutes and Tony Edjomariegwe in the 36th minute. Pillars however momentarily evened 3SC's opener in the 28th minute through Nasiru Ali but turned out to be a mere consolation goal.
3SC sneaked out of the bottom three to 16th spot with 30 points from 24 games while Pillars are only on top by the thread with 39 points from 23 games. They are only leading by virtue of better goals difference albeit with still a game at hand against Akwa United(fixed for September 4th). 3SC's new found form will be put to the test in Bauchi against equally relegated haunted Wikki Tourists on Wednesday while Pillars will welcome ABS to Kano.
SUNSHINE STARS 3-0 DOLPHINS
The Akure Gunners played their best home game after they were able to put three goals behind the net of rejuvenated Dolphins in Akure on Sunday night.
Alaba Adeniyi 33rd, Dele Olorundare 45th and Tamen Medrano in the 90th minute ensured that Sunshine moved to ninth on the log with 34 points from 24 games.
The good work being done by head coach, Fatai Folorunsho Amoo is starting to manifest but the club will have their joy cut short with a difficult away game against Lobi Stars at Katsina Ala's Emmanuel Akume Atongo Stadium on Wednesday.
Lobi need an outright win after storming to the foot of the log owing to loss to ABS while Sunshine can't afford another slip as they battle to get a string of impressive results.
The good news is that Olorundare has started scoring again after a little blip caused by national team assignment and foreign deals' distractions. He netted his 12th goal of the season against Dolphins.
The Port Harcourt dwellers are still in the top 10 as they currently placed eighth with 36 points from 24 games. They have a local derby to contend with on Wednesday against Sharks. It ended goalless when it was played during the first stanza but the Blue Angels will go off the relegation woes if they secure an unlikely win.
SHARKS 3-0 GOMBE UNITED
The Blue Angels put up a great display in the second half and thus broke the resilience of the Savannah Scorpions with three sublime goals.
Ezioha Okereke, Christian Pyagbara and Ifeanyi Inyam goals in the second half handed an important three point to Sharks and lifted them off the bottom of the league table for the first real time this season.
The Gbenga Ogunbote tutored lads are 17th on the log with 30 points from 24 games and they can bid relegation bye if they beat their neighbours, Dolphins on Wednesday at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt during the second leg of their local derby. It was Ogunbote's first game after he was announced as a replacement for Austin Eguavoen who left the club after he was not given a valid documented contract.
For Gombe United, it is still a continuation of their search for first road points after coming very close to getting it in the early days of the league against Sunshine Stars but still lost narrowly 2-3. They put up a spirited display in Port Harcourt and held their hosts to a goalless draw in the first half but they fell by the way side and allowed Sharks to pounce thrice in the second half.
Gombe United have a home tie against disorganised Heartland on Wednesday and they are fancied to add to add to their 11 home wins thus far. They have only drawn once at home (against Lobi) this season but have lost all away games too.
They are 10th with 34 points from 24 ties.
ENUGU RANGERS 2-1 KADUNA UNITED
The Flying Antelopes pipped Kaduna United 2-1 to move to seventh on the log with 36 points from 24 games.
Goals from Meshack Chibuikem and Chisom Egbuchulam in the 35th and 51st minutes respectively were able to cancel out Kaduna United's Jibo Iliya's stunner in the 23rd minute of the game played at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium,Enugu.
Rangers will need to improve their game like they did at away to Warri Wolves two weeks ago if they are to leave Ilorin without a defeat on Wednesday when they face on-form Kwara United.
Despite their valiant attempt to halt Rangers' string of home wins, Kaduna United capitulated when it mattered most and they are now 13th from their previous 10th position on the log with 32 points from 24 ties. They welcome struggling Nasarawa United on Wednesday in a must win home tie for the hosts.
ABS 2-1 LOBI STARS
The Senator Bukola Saraki boys held on tenaciously to the 2-1 lead to record a revenge over Lobi Stars who dumped them out of the Federation Cup in the Round of 16 on penaties in Minna last month.
Stone Evbuomwan showed he was made of steel when he got the curtain raiser in the 45th minute while Ajibola Otegbeye made it two in the 47th minute before Nanen Barnabas Imenger reduced the deficit for the Makurdi based side in the 53rd minute. Imenger's goal ensured a nail-biting finish to the tie.
ABS rose to 12th on the table with 32 points from 24 games while Lobi fell to the bottom of the log with 29 points from 24 ties. ABS have a tough assignment on their hands midweek as they face wounded Pillars in Kano while Sunshine Stars will be Lobi's headache at Katsina Ala on Wednesday.
ENYIMBA 2-0 NEMBE CITY
Two first half goals from Bishop Onyeudo in the 18th and 40th minutes gave the Peoples Elephant the maximum points at home to the premier league newcomers, Nembe City at the Enyimba International Stadium, Aba.
It was Onyeudo's first couple of goals before the home fans after he grabbed his debut goal for the Aba Millionaires in their 1-1 draw at Lafia against Nasarawa United last month.
He has fired himself to second on the goals scorers chart with 11 goals behind Sunshine's Dare Olorundare who has netted 12.
The three point ensured the Peoples Elephant only moved two steps up to fifth from seventh spot with 38 points from 24 games while Nembe are fast losing the steam that made them giant killers during the first stanza. They are now 14th with 32 points from 24 games.
Enyimba must fight harder if they are to defend their current spot on the log with a tight away schedule against Warri Wolves at Warri City Stadium on Wednesday while Nembe will take their survival battle to Maiduguri as they battle El Kanemi Warriors for the three points. Both are match day 25 fixtures.
NASARAWA UNITED 1-1 WARRI WOLVES
The Seasiders are the draw specialists of the current league season after they notched their eighth drawn game of the season at Lafia against Nasarawa United.
Warri Wolves survived two penalties which were spurned by the home team by Leonard Ugochukwu and Ibrahim Ibrahim in the second half of the tension soaked affair.
Despite the penalty scare, Warri Wolves got the first goal in the 60th minute through Super Eagles' player Joseph Osadaiye but Daniel Jackson evened the score line for the home team in the 77th minute.
Warri Wolves gained point ensured they retained their spot in the top three with 38 points from 24 games while Nasarawa United are still in 18th position with 30 points from 24 games. The Seasiders will have their hands full at home to Enyimba on Wednesday while Nasarawa United are on redemption mission to Kaduna United also on Wednesday.
AKWA UNITED 1-0 WIKKI TOURISTS
The Bauchi side would be rueing their luck after they succumbed to a late goal at the Uyo Township Stadium.
Just like the characteristics of Akwa United in recent time, they relied on an 89th minute strike from Hingir Son to get the full points against Wikki Tourists.
Akwa United thus secured their third straight league wins after victories over Lobi Stars, Warri Wolves and Wikki. They are now 11th on the log despite having a match at hand away to Kano Pillars billed for September 4th. Wikki slid further down to 19th on the log with 29 points from 24 games. Akwa United will make a short dash to Yenagoa to face Bayelsa United while Wikki will hope for positive result at home to 3SC. Both matches take place midweek.
BAYELSA UNITED 3-0 EL KANEMI WARRIORS
The Yenagoa based side were truly at home at the Samson Siasia Stadium as they edged El Kanemi 3-0 off a classy first half performance.
Bayelsa United with coach Ladan Isa Bosso in charge were two goals up after 18 minutes with Azubuike Okechukwu and Peter Ebimobowei accounting for both goals in the ninth and 18th minutes before Gindo Abdoulaye nailed the coffin of the away team with the third in the 40th minute.
Coach Zachary Baraje and his wards are returning to Maiduguri with empty hand. They must dust off their defeat to Bayelsa United as they welcome equally wounded Nembe City on Wednesday while Bayelsa United will play their second straight home game against Akwa United same midweek.
Bayelsa United are second on the log to Pillars by virtue of goals difference. They have 39 points just like the league's reigning champions although they have played a game more than Pillars but El Kanemi slid slightly down from third to sixth spot with 37 points from 24 games.