The summit of the Nigeria Premier League remained unchanged at the weekend despite Sai Masu’s loss on the road while Enyimba maintained their pursuit with a big win over Lobi Stars
By Kolade Oni
ENYIMBA 3-0 LOBI STARS
The Peoples Elephant made it a double over their premier league opponents with three goals at the Enyimba International Stadium, Aba to move to third on the log behind Kano Pillars and El Kanemi Warriors.
The Aba Millionaires beat the Makurdi Bombers 3-0 on Sunday after three late goals sealed the fate of the relegation haunted Benue side.
Lobi strove to size up Enyimba and they held them for most part of the encounter before they finally caved in the last 15 minutes of the encounter to the disappointment of Dominic Iorfa and Evans Ogenyi.
Two goals from Ifeanyi Edeh in the 76th and 90th minutes and another rare strike from Victor Ezeji between Edeh's brace in the 86th minute guarded Enyimba to the full points.
Enyimba have 49 points and are second behind Pillars (51 points) while Bayelsa United are third. El Kanemi Warriors are fourth with 48 points. They have a tough encounter versus Kano Pillars on Wednesday in a match day 31 clash.
SUNSHINE STARS 2-1 3SC (abandoned)
The game was halted at halftime after alleged crowd violence.
Sunshine got the first two goals of the match through Ajani Ibrahim and Alaba Adeniyi in the 4th and 16th minutes before the Oluyole Warriors reduced the arrears in the 38th minute through the effort of Taofeek Adepoju after a good cross from Seun Akinyemi. The Akure Gunners are on 38 points while 3SC have 37 points. Both have played 29 games each. It is left for the League Management Company (LMC) to rule on the outcome of the abandoned game and spell out sanctions.
Sunshine visit troubled ABS on Wednesday in a game of their lives while 3SC host Sharks. Both ties are baseline tangos with the outcome of them steadily deciding those that will play in the lower league next season.
ABS FC 0-0 EL KANEMI WARRIORS
The Ilorin side have lost more ground in their bid to stay in the elite division beyond this season. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the Saraki Boys after they allowed El Kanemi to pick a point at the Kwara State Stadium.
ABS have 38 points from 30 matches while El Kanemi slid to the fourth with 48 points from as many games. ABS have another home tie and an opportunity for a redemption. They face Sunshine Stars who could be plunged into the relegation zone if they lose while El Kanemi will fancy all points that will shoot them to as far as the second position on the log if Pillars are to lose to Enyimba.
WARRI WOLVES 1-0 GOMBE UNITED
The Seasiders overcame a desperate Savannah Scorpions 1-0 at the Warri City Stadium on Sunday with in-form Oghenekaro Etebo with the match-winner in the 71st minute.
Prior to this tie, Gombe United were still expecting their first road point of a season they have remained relevant based on their near home invincibility but they failed to leave Warri with any.
Warri Wolves' players were playing with caution perhaps because of their Federation Cup final with Enyimba on Sunday in Lagos. The first half ended goalless but the Delta team did just enough to nick maximum points. They have 45 points from 29 matches to move to sixth while Gombe United remain on 43 points from 30 matches. Wolves must negotiate a difficult away tie against Dolphins before thinking of the Federation Cup final while Gombe United will seek all points to return to winning ways at home to Kaduna United on Wednesday in Matchday 31 fixtures.
Etebo's goal was his 12th strike of the season as he moved joint top scorer alongside formerly Sunshine Stars' Dele Olorundare and Enyimba's Bishop Onyeudo. The trio all have 12 goals each.
NEMBE CITY 0-0 DOLPHINS FC
The league newcomers have been finding the road tough in the elite division after a promising start to the season. They drew at home to Dolphins in a game a win would have been ideal.
Nembe's aim to avoid the drop at the end of the season is seriously being threatened except they can secure a huge away win in their remaining road trips to Wikki Tourists, Akwa United and ABS. They must however win their remaining home matches also to realise this.
Nembe have 39 points from 30 matches while Dolphins have amassed 41 points from as many games too. Nembe face a wounded Lobi Stars while Dolphins welcome Warri Wolves on Wednesday.
SHARKS FC 1-1 AKWA UNITED
The Blue Angels are still looking for their first victory in three matches after they had to come back from behind before drawing at home to Akwa United.
Akwa United's Mfon Udoh raced his side ahead in the 20th minute but Sharks got the leveller in the 66th minute through Thompson Stowe. They could get the winner. The good work of coach Gbenga Ogunbote in the second stanza of the league may be ruined if the players do not step up their game. Akwa United on the other hand extend their unbeaten run to two games. Sharks visit Ibadan as guest of 3SC while Akwa United will meet rejuvenated Heartland at the Uyo Township Stadium. The Naze Millionaires will put their three match unbeaten run on the line on Wednesday.
Sharks have 40 points from 30 games while Akwa United have garnered 41 points from same number of games.
HEARTLAND FC 1-0 BAYELSA UNITED
Eddy Ongolo's 61st minute effort was the difference at the Dan Anyiam Stadium,Owerri between Heartland and Bayelsa United. A draw would have changed the complexity of the league table but the Naze Millionaires held on to move to 43 points and bid bye to relegation zone. The club has secured three wins from their last three games. Heartland will face Akwa United in Uyo next on Wednesday.
Bayelsa United's aim to steal a point had been punctured at Owerri and they must return home well prepared for Enugu Rangers on Wednesday. The Isa Ladan Bosso led team are still having an unbelievable season despite only returning to the elite division at the start of the season. They are currently third with 49 points from 30 games.
ENUGU RANGERS 1-0 WIKKI TOURISTS
The Flying Antelopes again struggled to assert their supremacy on the match and were fortunate to nick a vital home win against Wikki Tourists.
Chinedu Udeagha's goal in the 20th minute was very key to achieving that.
The away team strove to equalise but they couldn't penetrate through Emmanuel Daniel led defence.
Rangers have 45 points from 30 matches and are placed 7th while Wikki Tourists still have issues with the relegation with only 36 points from 30 games.
The Coal City side travel to Yenagoa as guest of Bayelsa United while Wikki have a must win fixture against Nasarawa United on Wednesday in Bauchi. Anything short of victory may mark the club's slide to the lower division.
NASARAWA UNITED 2-1 KANO PILLARS
Nasarawa United have gained a little reprieve in their bid to escape relegation after they beat league leaders, Pillars 2-1 at the Lafia Stadium.
Goals from Malachy Illo and Victor Namo in the 26th and 55th minutes gave Nasarawa United a healthy lead. Pillars' Promise James however raised the blood pressure of the home fans with a goal in the 71st minute. The strike turned out to be a consolation.
Namo's goal, is 13th strike of the season has shot him to the top of the scorer chart. He is one goal better than the trio of Oghenekaro Etebo(Warri Wolves), Dele Olorundare(formerly Sunshine Stars) and Bishop Onyeudo(Enyimba) who are all on 12 goals. which shot him to the top of the scorer chart.
Nasarawa United have 39 points from 30 games while Pillars remain on top with 51 points from 30 matches. They are first on the log.
The Lafia side will take their relegation survival to Wikki Tourists who are also suffering the same fate while Pillars will play host to Enyimba with so much at stake.
KADUNA UNITED 2-0 KWARA UNITED
Kaduna United relied on the goals of former Enyimba duo of Linus Adams and Emeka Akueme in the 79th and 90th minute to defeat Kwara United at the Kaduna Township Stadium.
The defeat as slowed down the Afonja Warriors quest to qualify for the continent while the win was a big boost to Kaduna United's aspiration to avoid the drop.
Kaduna United have 41 points from 30 games while Kwara United are on 44 points from 29 matches. Kaduna United will travel for a duel with Gombe United while the Afonja Warriors are on another road trip to Maiduguri to face El Kanemi Warriors on Wednesday.