NPFL Week 20 Round Up: Kano Pillars lose unbeaten run as home teams secure wins

Sai Masu Gida's bid to win the league for a third successive season suffered a setback after they were humbled by Dolphins in one of the Week 20 matches of the premier league
Venue: Katsina Ala

The Makurdi Bombers triumphed 2-1 but had to sweat for most part of the encounter played at the Chief Akume Atongo Stadium in Katsina Ala. Goals from Bunde Moses and Bright Essien helped the home team to defeat the Naze Millionaires who were almost poised to record a draw.

The first leg had ended 1-0 in favour of Heartland from a goal scored by former junior international Bright Ejike but the Owerri side lost the opportunity to make it a double after they caved-in in the injury time of the tie. They had earlier drawn level through Clement Bobby who netted on his debut for the away tie.

Lobi have 28 points from 20 matches and will play Crown of Ogbomosho in Ibadan next week while Heartland are still on 27 points from same number of matches and they will engage Dolphins in another tough duel in Port Harcourt next week.


Venue: Benin City

The Restoration Boys left the relegation zone for good on Sunday evening at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin after a close 1-0 home win over Crown FC.

The Yenagoa side had predicted they would beat their rivals from Ogbomosho and they never disappointed with the winning strike scored inside the first minute of the encounter and it ended that way.

Bayelsa United have garnered 27 points from 20 matches while Crown are still on 24 points from 20 matches. Still troubled by relegation worries, Bayelsa United will hope to consolidate with an away tie to wounded Sharks while Crown will strive to rekindle their winning formula in a home tie with Lobi Stars next week.


Venue: Uyo

It was the star match of the week and it did live up to its expectations with both teams contributing to a very entertaining tie played at the Uyo Township Stadium on Sunday.

The Promise Keepers had earlier beaten the Blue Angels 2-1 in Port Harcourt but the visitors came with the mindset to record same feat in Uyo.

Sharks did all they could to get their much sought revenge but they couldn’t get a comeback after Akwa United’s captain, Ini Akpan put his side in the lead in the 18th minute through a powerful header.

The Uyo side have amassed 31 points from 20 matches while Sharks must dash back to Port Harcourt to correct what went wrong in Uyo against Bayelsa United next week. They currently have 30 points from 20 matches and have lost their last four games in the top flight.

They are yet to win since their 10 match unbeaten streak was halted in Jalingo by FC Taraba through a stoppage time penalty kick. They have lost to Kano Pillars and twice to Akwa United.


Venue: Jalingo

The Jalingo Boys shrugged off their disappointing display in the Federation Cup with a 1-0 home success over relegation-haunted Gombe United.

The Desert Scorpions made changes to their technical crew with the appointment of former Super Eagles’ defender, Austin Eguavoen and Oladunni Oyekale but the duo couldn’t save them defeat in their first league match since their appointment some weeks back.

The win secured at the Jolly Nyame Stadium, Jalingo improved FC Taraba to 28 points on the log while Gombe United need to fashion out a winning aura when they play host to Akwa United next week. They are currently second to the bottom with 20 points from 20 matches. FC Taraba will travel to Lafia as guests of Nasarawa United next week.


Venue: Umuahia

The Umuahia side held on to a famous home win as they keep themselves within the framework of a surprise league title shot with the victory over the Solid Miners at the Umuahia Township Stadium.

Abia Warriors were among the surprise package of the first stanza which they finished third with 30 points in only their first season in the elite division. They added three more points after the win over Nasarawa United. They are now second with 33 points from 20 matches. They may jump to the top of the league if they beat troubled Kaduna United away and Kano Pillars fail to bag maximum points at home to Giwa FC next week.

Nasarawa United have stepped a bit down on the log after the loss but they will fancy their place back in the top cadre if they beat FC Taraba in a northern derby next week. The Solid Miners have 31 points from 20 matches.


Venue: Warri

Two penalties determined the outcome of the encounter in both the first and the second leg played in Kaduna and Warri respectively. Aminu Isah who has now switched to Heartland of Owerri converted the spot kick which handed all points to the Crocodile Boys at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna while in the reverse tie played on Sunday at the Warri Township Stadium it took an 86thminute penalty kick scored by Gbolahan Salami before the Seasiders could beat Kaduna United.

The Paul Aigbogun tutored lads eventually triumphed 1-0 and they have moved to 31 points from 20 matches. They will travel to Kano next as guests of El Kanemi Warriors. Kaduna United will need more than luck at home to in-form Abia Warriors as they hope to add to their 21 points from 20 matches tally.


Venue: Enugu

The Flying Antelopes were convincing winners at home at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu after two second half goals returned them to winning ways in glowing fashion.

The Enugu side lost the reverse tie 2-1 in Kano with Ighodalor Osagona scoring the only goal in the loss but there was nothing stopping Rangers this term as they secured an important win against fellow relegation battlers.

Emeka Eze brought the stadium into roar of joy when he opened the scoring in the 55th minute after a scoreless first half and in-form Osagona got the second goal three minutes after the initial goal. The former 3SC striker has now plundered home 11 goals this season.

Rangers have 27 points from 20 matches while El Kanemi are on 26 points from as many matches. The Flying Antelopes will play away at Nembe City while El Kanemi will host Warri Wolves in a tough battle next week.


Venue: Akure

There was not much difference between Nembe City who are prodding the premier league table and the Akure Gunners who almost doubles the Yenagoa side’s point haul for the season. The away side came with an objective to get something out of the tie and could have achieved their aim with more self belief and good strikers.

Newman Musa was on hand to convert the only goal of the match for the home team in front of the fans at the Akure Sports Complex but Sunshine still have some work to do if they are to move higher than the middle of the pack on the log while Nembe will need more than a miracle to survive the chop at the end of the season.

Sunshine have 30 points from 20 games while Nembe City still sit on 16 points from 20 matches. Both sides will play at home and away next with Sunshine on a road trip to Aba to face Enyimba while Nembe will await Rangers in Omoku.


Venue: Jos

If this tie had decided the semi final of the Federation Cup, Giwa FC would have zoomed to the final in their first real campaign in the competition in their debut campaign in the top flight but it was not. It was only a league match but the win as sent a clear message to defending champions, Enyimba that they would need to do more work if they are to scale past the giant killers on Thursday in Abeokuta.

The Jos Elephant pipped Enyimba 1-0 and after two games against the minnows from Jos, the former CAF Champions League winners are still seeking their first win.

Giwa FC have jumped to 31 points from 20 matches while Enyimba plummeted with 29 points from 20 ties. Enyimba won’t accept anything less than a win when they host Sunshine Stars while Giwa have a date with Kano Pillars next.


Venue: Port Harcourt

Just like Sharks of Port Harcourt, the Sai Masu Gida have surrendered their unbeaten streak after 10 games when they were pinned back 1-0 in Port Harcourt by Dolphins. Emem Eduok’s solitary goal was all the Pride of Rivers needed to turn back Pillars empty handed in an exciting league tie played at the Liberation Stadium.

Dolphins, under the tutelage of Stanley Eguma, have been firing on all cylinders this season as they have qualified for the semi final of the Federation Cup with a tie again Prime FC on Thursday in Abuja.

The crucial win over Pillars has improved their points haul to 30 from 20 matches while Pillars in spite of the loss are still on top with 34 points from 20 matches.

Pillars will have a mountain to climb when they battle Giwa FC next while Dolphins won’t be relaxing either when they face Heartland in another home tie in Port Harcourt.