The Makurdi side’s crucial away victory in Ibadan was the only major highlight of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Week 21 matches played on WednesdayCROWN FC 0-1 LOBI STARS
Venue: Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan
The Ajilete Boys couldn’t withstand the heat from the Makurdi side as they suffered their first home loss of the season against Lobi Stars at their supposed ‘home ground’ at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan.
Both teams lacked the cutting edge and the willingness to win the tie during the opening exchanges but Lobi proved to be the better side after they took over the midfield and even made occasional incursions into the vital area of their hosts in the first half.
The second half was almost taking same precedent until the moment of madness in the 54th minute when Lobi’s Uche Ilo was upended in the 18 yard box by one of Crown FC’s defenders.
The Makurdi side’s skipper, Bunde Moses coolly slotted home the penalty kick to the delight of his teammates, coaches and traveling supporters.
There was nothing much that attracted more attention besides Crown FC’s Yomi Olaoke’s 20 yard shot that cannoned off the woodwork and back to the field of play in the 81st mimute.
Lobi moved to 10th position with 31 points from 21 matches while Crown have 24 points from same number of matches.
KANO PILLARS 3-1 GIWA
Venue: Kano Pillars Stadium
It was reality check to premier league debutants, Giwa FC who have been having impressive outings in the league this season.
Pillars needed to win to put the Jos Elephants where they belonged and they did this in large proportion after they beat Giwa FC 3-1 in Kano to hold on to the leadership of the table after 21 matches. The Sai Masu Gida now have 37 points and are looking pretty good to retain the title they have won for the past two seasons.
Giwa FC have exceeded their own expectation in their first season in the elite division. They got to the semi final of the Federation Cup and have garnered some eye-catching results both home and away. They have 31 points from 21 matches.
ENYIMBA 2-0 SUNSHINE STARS
Venue: Enyimba International, Aba
After the disappointing league defeat to Giwa FC which they avenged with a victory in the semi final of the Federation Cup, Enyimba added three crucial points to their haul on the league table.
The Aba Millionaires defeated the Akure Gunners 2-0 to move up on the league table. They now have 32 points from 21 matches and have put themselves into reckoning among the title contenders.
Sunshine Stars were unable to beat the People’s Elephant in two games and they must buckle up very fast ahead of the weekend fixture if they are to improve on their current 30 points from 21 matches.
DOLPHINS 1-0 HEARTLAND
Venue: Liberation Stadium, Elekahia, Port Harcourt
Ifeanyi Egwin recovered in time to rescue Dolphins’ campaign in the premier league and in the Federation Cup. He was down for some time as a result of injury but has regained full match fitness and just like he did at the beginning of the league season, he has started scoring again.
It was his goal that stopped the Naze Millionaires’ bid to get anything out of their fixture played on Wednesday in Port Harcourt.
Stanley Eguma's boys have been firing on all cylinders this season and they are very close to adding to the title they last won in 2011 - the league crown. Dolphins have 33 points to race to fourth on the league table from 21 matches while Heartland are still on 27 points from as many matches. They are under pressure to beat their next opponents, Crown FC in Owerri on Sunday.
GOMBE UNITED 2-0 AKWA UNITED
Venue: Pantami Stadium, Omoku
The Desert Scorpions eventually grabbed their first home win under new head coach, Austin Eguavoen by beating Akwa United by two goals at the Pantami Stadium on Wednesday.
Victory has always been hard in coming but Gombe United fashioned out a winning aura against the Promise Keepers.
Gombe United are still in relegation zone as they have 23 points from 21 games while Akwa United have lost for the first time after successive wins over Sharks of Port Harcourt. They have 31 points from 21 ties.
NASARAWA UNITED 2-0 TARABA FC
Venue: Lafia Stadium, Lafia
Mohammed Baba Ganaru and his troops moved to second place on the log as they triumphed 2-0 over FC Taraba in a northern derby in Lafia on Wednesday.
The Solid Miners are having a fantastic season under the former Kano Pillars’ gaffer after their near elimination from the premier league last season. They are in position to nick a continental ticket if they do not slack in the second stanza.
The Lafia side now have 34 points from 21 games and are relishing the prospect of securing even better results in the near future but it is not the same for FC Taraba in the elite division. They have 28 points from as many games presently and are finding life difficult in the top flight they are only participating in for the first time.
KADUNA UNITED 3-2 ABIA WARRIORS
Venue: Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna
The Crocodile Boys won a closely fought tie against the Umuahia side at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna. Kaduna United thus bagged their seventh win of the season and they are yet to get any away point for over two seasons.
Issues relating players salary are still unresolved but Kaduna United players did all within their reach to ensure that they get maximum points against the new premier league entrants.
Nura Suleiman, Monday Palminas and Chima Ulaocha’s own goal raced Kaduna United to a clear lead before a valiant battle from Abia Warriors made it clash to behold till the very end. The Crocodiles are now on 24 points from as many ties but are still enmeshed in relegation war.
El Kanemi Warriors 2-0 Warri Wolves
Venue: Kano Pilllars Stadium
The Maiduguri side successfully cancelled out the Seasiders in Kano to improve their lot on the league table. The Salisu Yusuf tutored side have got the points they desired to get out of the relegation zone. They now have 29 points from 21 games while Warri Wolves are on 31 points from 21 matches.
NEMBE CITY 2-1 ENUGU RANGERS
Venue: Krsidera Hotel Pitch, Omoku
The Omoku based team came back from a goal down to beat the Flying Antelopes 2-1 at the Krisdera Hotel Pitch. Osagona Ighodalor increased his goal haul with his 12th goals of the season against Nembe City. He has been awesome in the league this season and only have eight goals more to equal the all time leading scorer, Jude Aneke who netted 20 goals for Kaduna United three seasons ago.
Nembe have 19 points from as many games while Rangers are on 27 points from 21 matches too.
SHARKS 2-0 BAYELSA UNITED
Venue: Sharks Stadium, Port Harcourt
The Blue Angels returned to winning ways after four successive losses in the league spanning from when they lost their first game in ten matches with few games to the end of the first staza.
Abraham Okereke was among the goal scorers for Sharks. Sharks have 33 points while Bayelsa United have 27 points from 21 matches.