The 2012/13 NPFL season ended on Sunday across Nigeria but not without the final day drama which has pushed down ABS and Kwara United back to the lower league
By Kolade Oni
LOBI STARS 2-0 KANO PILLARS
Both clubs got their target at the end of the league tie played at the Chief Emmanuel Atongo Stadium in Katsina Ala.
Lobi knew a win would keep their top flight status while Pillars only needed a draw to seal a third league crown. Lobi were more desperate and it showed from their approach to the game from the start to the finish. The Makurdi side shot into the lead through Barnabas Imenger Jnr. in the 16th minute from the penalty spot.
It came off an infringement on Lekan Agunloye who was viciously brought down by an overzealous Pillars' defender.
Imenger Jnr completed the raid on Sai Masu with the second goal in the 85th minute when he dug a hole in the Pillars' defence for his second goal of the match.
Lobi came 14th at the end of the season with 52 points from 38 matches while Pillars sealed a third league crown with 63 points from 38 matches too.
KADUNA UNITED 2-0 3SC
A top official of the Oluyole Warriors informed Goal that Referee Etujeme from Abia State allegedly deliberately conjured two dubious second half penalties for Kaduna United to beat hard fighting 3SC at the Kaduna Township Stadium.
Linus Adams and Ilya Jibo converted both goals in the 55th and 70th minutes respectively for the crucial three points that cemented Kaduna United spot in the elite division next season. 3SC are already aware they must stay in the lower league for a season at least before the final round of matches. The Oluyole Warriors' goalkeeper, Richard Ocheayi reportedly saved one of the spot kicks awarded to the home team.
Kaduna United came 10th at the end of the season with 53 points from 38 matches. The Ibadan side on their part couldn't add to the 46 points they garnered before the last game.
ENYIMBA 1-0 SHARKS
The Peoples Elephant have grabbed the second spot they desperately courted when it dawned on them that the league shield was beyond their reach.
Enyimba also created a sort of record when they ended the league season without conceding any goal at the Enyimba International Stadium, Aba. Ifeanyi Edeh underlined his rich form this season with the only goal of the match in the second half.
The Aba Millionaires will take up the CAF Champions League's slot alongside Pillars having come second in the league. They will leave the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to decide who will be the second flag bearer of the country in the CAF Confederations Cup. Bayelsa United already got one of the tickets while either El Kanemi or Warri Wolves will claim the second spot.
Enyimba came second with 62 points from 38 matches while Sharks finished the season in eighth position with 53 points from as many matches.
NEMBE CITY 2-0 SUNSHINE STARS
The privately owned club bagged the maximum points on the final day of the season that confirmed their premier league status. Nembe City were turned to shreds at Ilorin last Wednesday when ABS thrashed them 6-1 in a league match but the players of the club picked up their pieces after the defeat and scored two goals that sent the Akure Gunners back home empty handed.
Nembe finished the season in 15th position with 52 points from 38 matches while Sunshine are 12th with the same points but with superior goals difference.
ENUGU RANGERS 1-0 EL KANEMI WARRIORS
The Flying Antelopes came fifth in the league with 58 points from 38 matches after a 1-0 narrow win over El Kanemi Warriors at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium,Enugu.
Meshack Chibuike's solitary strike in the 35th minute kept the Coal City club among the top five clubs in the country while the Maiduguri's side's attempt to win the league on the final day of the season was punctured. They however came fourth with 60 points from 38 matches.
NASARAWA UNITED 1-0 HEARTLAND
Victor Namo converted the only goal that kept the Lafia side in the top flight from the spot in their 1-0 home win over the Naze Millionaires. The strike was his 18th goal of the season and it sealed his status as the NPFL highest goals scorer for the just completed season.
Heartland will campaign in the elite division next season but they would definitely term this season among their worst executed season having had to rely on their final home game of the season to confirm their place in the premier league next season.
Nasarawa United ended the season with 52 points from 38 matches to be placed 13th while Heartland are 11th with same 52 points from as many matches.
KWARA UNITED 1-1 AKWA UNITED
It is quite appalling that despite winning three away matches at Lobi Stars, Sharks and Heartland, the Afonja Warriors would still be eliminated to the lower league. Kwara United needed an outright win but they could only get a draw. The Ilorin side ended the season in 17th position with 51 points from 38 matches.
For Akwa United, it was a narrow escape as they finished the season in 16th position with 51 points from as many matches
DOLPHINS 2-0 WIKKI TOURISTS
The Port Harcourt dwellers sent Wikki Tourists to the lower league after they turned the Bauchi side back by two unreplied goals at the Liberation Stadium.
The Stanley Eguma tutored Dolphins knew they had to win the league tie to stand a chance of staying in the top division. They did so but this confirmed the exit of Wikki Tourists from the elite division.
Dolphins have 53 points from 38 matches and placed ninth while Wikki Tourists ended in 19th spot with 49 points from 38 matches too.
GOMBE UNITED 1-0 BAYELSA UNITED
The Savannah Scorpions stung Bayelsa United 1-0 and ended their faint hope of winning the league at the end of the season. The Yenagoa side will however be consoled with playing in the CAF Confederations Cup next season in only their first season of their return to the elite division.
Gombe United on their own maintained their enviable record of near flawless results at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe. They only drew once from 19 home games and won 18 but lost all away games. They have 55 points from 38 matches to be placed seventh while Bayelsa United are third with 61 points from 38 matches.
WARRI WOLVES 1-0 ABS
The Seasiders matched their words with action after they beat ABS for their fans and also to regain lost pride in their final game of the season.
Warri Wolves promised so much but delivered little in a season filled with ups and downs.
Oghenekaro Etebo started from where he began this season - scoring goals with fun as his only goal helped his club to the crucial win.
It importantly relegated ABS from the premier league.
Warri Wolves finished the season sixth with 55 points from 38 matches while ABS placed 18th with 50 points from 38 matches.