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NPFL Matchday 19 Review: Abia Warriors, Delta Force secure important away wins

2:27 AM MYT 13/05/2019
Abia Warriors - 2018 Federation Cup
The Warriors and the Delta State representatives secured crucial away victories in their attempts to move out of the relegation zone

Abia Warriors have brightened their chances of spending another season in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) after they demolished Heartland 4-2 in Okigwe in their latest Oriental Derby tie.

The Warriors fell behind in the 11th minute after the Naze Millionaires’ Nnamdi Egbujor scored the opener for the home team, but Ibrahim Olawoyin’s double and one each from Fatai Abdullahi and Jimoh Oni clinched the win. Heartland's Chigozie Igoh then scored a late consolation goal. 

At the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Akwa United were made to work hard before they could secure maximum points against relegation-haunted Yobe Desert Stars.

The Promise Keepers got off to a flying start through Aniefiok Godspower strike after 15 seconds, but they had to depend on the heroics of their goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo, who saved Philip Auta’s penalty kick in the 33rd minute, to secure the win. Mfon Udoh couldn’t add to his nine goals as his 55th-minute spot-kick hit the woodwork.

Akwa United have opened up a seven-point lead at the top of the NPFL Group B table with 37 points from 19 games.

At El Kanemi Sports Complex, Maiduguri, El Kanemi Warriors ended their run of home wins after they were thrashed 2-0 by visiting Delta Force, with Ufuoma Ajamikoko and Egbo Otukhe doing the damage to the Borno Army.

In Jos, Plateau United moved out of the relegation zone for the first time this season after they came back from behind to beat Nasarawa United 2-1 at New Jos Road Stadium.

Anas Yusuf stunned the Peace Boys fans with the opener in the second minute, but first half efforts from Oche Odoba and Kabiru Umar changed the result, with Plateau United moving to the seventh position with 25 points.

In Kano, Kano Pillars were two goals better than Go Round at Sani Abacha Stadium and they have moved into the playoff spots as result. They are now in second place with 31 points from 19 games, while Go Round have slipped to the ninth spot and into the drop zone with 25 points.

In Aba, Enyimba faltered in their quest to finish the season in the playoff spots after they were denied maximum points at Enyimba International Stadium by Wikki Tourist, who held them to a 1-1 draw.

The People’s Elephant shot into the lead from the penalty spot when Abdulrahman Bashir converted in the 13th minute, but they were given reality check when Promise Damala equalised in the 60th minute, much to the disappointment of the home fans.

Enyimba have slipped to the third spot with 29 points from 19 games, ahead of their next game with Remo Stars in Sagamu.

In Ilorin, Kwara United compounded their woes with another goalless home draw against Rivers United at the Kwara Sports Complex. The return of the Harmony Boys head coach, Abubakar Bala, could not inspire the team to the important three points.

In Makurdi, Lobi Stars put themselves in contention for the playoff spots after they pipped Enugu Rangers 1-0 at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi despite playing most of the second half with a man down.

The Pride of Benue moved to the second spot in Group A with 30 points from 19 games after Solomon Kwambe’s lone goal in the 45th minute was sufficient for the maximum points.

In Lagos, MFM were held to a 1-1 draw by Remo Stars in a South West derby,  a result which has seen the Olukoya Boys thrown out of the top three for the first time this season.

Victor Chidume stunned the fans at Agege Stadium with the opener in the 23rd minute for the Sky Blue Stars, but MFM”s Elijah Akanni’s equaliser in the 60th minute secured the draw.

MFM are now in the fourth place with 29 points from 19 games, while Remo Stars, who are at the bottom of Group A, are seemingly playing for pride with only 18 points from 19 matches thus far.

Sunshine Stars and Bendel Insurance also secured important home wins, against Niger Tornadoes and Katsina United, to ease their relegation worries. They occupy the sixth and seventh places in the Nigerian top-flight with 26 and 25 points, respectively, from 19 matches.