NPFL Matchday 15 Reviews: Kano Pillars chase leaders Lobi Stars after big win

Sai Masu Gida and Flying Antelopes earned big wins, while the leaders maintained a three-point gap atop after an away draw in Umuahia

Kano Pillars 4-0 FC Ifeanyi Ubah

Sai Masu Gida recovered from their recent poor run of form to silence the Anambra Warriors 4-0 at the Sani Abacha Stadium on Wednesday.

Second half brace from Junior Lokosa plus Nyima Nwagua and Awalu Ali's strikes powered Ibrahim Musa's men to their first win in four consecutive matches.

After a barren first half, Lokosa broke the deadlock on the hour mark before he added the second - his 14th goal in 14 appearances this season five minutes later.

The visitors' hopes for a comeback were severely dented by late strikes from Nwagua and Ali in the last eight minutes as the hosts earned their biggest win of the season.

The win helped Kano Pillars move to second on the log with 24 points from 15 games, while FC Ifeanyi Ubah dropped to 15th place with 18 points from similar matches.


Enugu Rangers 3-0 Yobe Desert Stars

The Flying Antelopes made a big statement win in Enugu with a 3-0 thumping of the Damaturu Boys at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.

Ajani Ibrahim first-half brace plus Bright Silas' late second-half finish ensured highflying Gbenga Ogunbote's men extended their unbeaten run to four consecutive games.

Ibrahim opened the scoring in the 24th minute before he doubled the hosts' lead on the brink of half-time before Silas' 85th-minute strike wrapped up the big home win.

The win saw Enugu Rangers climbed to fourth on the log with 22 points from 14 games, but Yobe Desert Stars fell to 11th place with 20 points from 15 matches.


Sunshine Stars 2-2 Kwara United

The Owena Whales recorded their third home draw of the season after they were held to a 2-2 draw by relegation-troubled Kwara United at the Akure Sports Complex.

Stephen Alfred and Chinedu Sunday were on target for the visitors as their efforts cancelled Sunday Emmanuel's brace for the hosts to force a stalemate. 

It was Alfred's 20th-minute goal that put Abubakar Bala's men in front on the ground of the Whales but Emmanuel leveled matters in the 38th minute.

After the restart, Emmanuel scored his second of the match, handing the hosts the lead in the 61st minute but Sunday's 72nd-minute header helped the visitors' escape defeat.

The draw means Sunshine Stars are 16th with only 17 points from 15 games, while Kwara United are still rock bottom, though only two points adrift of safety.


Rivers United 2-0 Heartland 

The Pride of Rivers are back to winning ways once again after they defeated the Naze Millionaires 2-0 at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium.

Before the contest, Stanley Eguma's side were winless in last three games, including two defeats at Wikki Tourist and Lobi Stars, and they were hopeful on easing past the visitors.

Second half goals from Emeka Ogbugh and substitute Roland Koffi were all the hosts required to compound the Owerri-based side's woes in Port Harcourt.

With the win, Rivers United are now 10th with 20 points from 14 matches, while humbled Heartland collapsed to 18th with 16 points from 15 games.


Abia Warriors 1-1 Lobi Stars

The Uchendu Warriors failed to secure their sixth home win of the season after they were forced a 1-1 draw by 10-man Pride of Benue at the Umuahia Township Stadium. 

Going into the encounter, the impressive hosts were aiming to hand the table toppers their fourth defeat of the season but Umar Zango's strike dented their ambitions.

Ndifreke Effiong grabbed the opener a minute into the game for hosts in Umuahia but Zango struck from a free kick spot in the second half to claim a point for the visitors.

The draw ensured Lobi Stars retain their three-point lead on top with 27 points from 15 games this season, while Abia Warriors are eighth with 20 points from 15 matches.


Nasarawa United 2-1 Katsina United

The Solid Miners ease their relegation fears after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Chanji Boys at the Lafia City Stadium.

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The Lafia-based side had fallen into the relegation places after a recent 2-1 loss at Heartland but Wednesday's triumph saw them three points off the drop zone.

Najeem Olukokun netted twice in the first half to ensure the Kabiru Dogo's men climbed out of the relegation zone despite Abdulbasit Shittu's 24th-minute own goal.

After the win, Nasarawa United are now 12th on the log with 20 points - same as opponents Katsina United, who above them in seventh on goal difference after 15 games.