NPFL Wrap: Rivers United crowned champions, Heartland hold Enyimba

Rivers UnitedFB/Rivers

Rivers United have been crowned champions of the Nigeria Professional Football League despite losing 2-1 to Nasarawa United with three matches to spare.

Following a 2-1 defeat to Akwa United by closest challengers Plateau United, the Promise Keepers cruised home to rule Nigeria for the first time in their history.

With that, Stanley Eguma’s men have been guaranteed an automatic place in next season’s Caf Champions League.

At the Enyimba International Stadium, Enyimba’s chances of qualifying for Africa continue to fade as they could only record a 0-0 home draw against cross-city rivals Heartland.

Still hurt by their 2-1 loss at MFM, Finidi George’s men welcomed the Naze Millionaires to Aba, albeit, they could not secure all points despite dominating ball possession.

In another derby played on Sunday, former champions Kano Pillars subdued Enugu Rangers 1-0 at the Sani Abacha Stadium.

After a goalless first half, captain Rabiu Ali put his team ahead from the penalty spot in the 53rd minute following a foul in the box by a Flying Antelope.

Sai Masu Gida had numerous chances to increase their lead, but they were stopped by their profligacy in front of goal.

Even with their defeat, Rangers still occupy the fourth position in the log having garnered 52 points from 35 matches played so far.

Two wins in their last three matches could hand them a ticket to next season’s Champions League or a place in the Caf Confederation Cup at least.

At the Akure Township Stadium, Sunshine Stars got a hard-fought 2-1 triumph over MFM FC.

Lifted by a commanding start, the Owena Whales took the lead just 11 minutes after Azeez Ajagbe put the ball beyond goalkeeper Osayi Kingdom.

At the hour mark, the hosts doubled their lead thanks to Ike Brandon’s strike.

Not willing to go down without a fight, the Lagos-based outfit woke from their slumber and that paid off when David Nduka drilled the ball past Japhet Opubo.

This defeat leaves MFM at the base of the log and they could be demoted to the Nigeria National League if they fail to win their next three fixtures.

Also, Shooting Stars Football Club threw away a two-goal lead to end their outing against Abia Warriors in a 2-2 draw.

Goals from Lucky Emmanuel and Olatunji Damilare had given the Oluyole Warriors a 2-0 lead.

The visitors bounced back to life to earn a point thanks to goals from Odoh Valentine and Godwin Obaje.

 

NPFL RESULTS

Sunshine Stars 2-1 MFM
Enyimba 0-0 Heartland
Gombe United 2-1 Wikki Tourist
Kano Pillars 1-0 Enugu Rangers
Lobi Stars 1-0 Dakkada FC
Nasarawa 2-1 Rivers United
3SC 2-2 Abia Warriors
Katsina United 3-2 Remo Stars 

Rivers United crowned NPFL champions

How long have you waited for Rivers United to become champions of Nigeria?