NPFL Matchday 22 Reviews: Lobi Stars survive Enugu Rangers scare in Makurdi

The Pride of Benue bounced back to winning ways after they overcame the Flying Antelopes in one of the weekend’s fixtures

FC Ifeanyi Ubah 1-2 Niger Tornadoes

The Anambra Warriors suffered their first home defeat of the season as they bowed 2-1 to Niger Tornadoes in Sunday's Nigerian topflight encounter in Nnewi.

Before the tie, the Warriors were undefeated in their last six matches, having gained an away point in a 1-1 draw at Yobe Desert Stars.

The visitors who were smarting from the death of their defender Hussaini Isah a week ago secured a lead in the 72nd minute through Mubarak Ejiogu but Godwin Obaje found the equaliser from the spot in the 90th minute.

With both sides almost looking settled to share the spoils, Bashir Usman struck deep inside the injury time to hand the Minna based boys their first away win this season and a befitting respect for their departed defender.

The defeat saw FC Ifeanyi Ubah drop to 11th with 28 points from 22 encounters, while victorious Niger Tornadoes stay put in fourth position with 34 points from same number of games.


Katsina United 1-0 Sunshine Stars

The Chanji Boys stepped up their chase for a top-four finish this season after they secured a hard-fought 1-0 over the Owena Whales at the Mohammed Dikko Stadium.

Following their 3-1 defeat at Kano Pillars a week ago, Abdullahi Biffo's side recovered in time in their quest to brighten their title prospect against struggling Henry Abiodun's men in Katsina.

Both teams played out a barren 0-0 draw in the first half, but Tasiu Lawal's 61st-minute effort was all the hosts required to compound the woes of their relegation-threatened visitors.

After the win, Katsina United are fifth with 33 points from 22 matches, while Sunshine Stars are now 19th with 23 points from same games.


Rivers United 1-0 Plateau United

The Pride of Rivers secured their first win after five consecutive matches by defeating Plateau United 1-0 at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium.

Despite a 1-1 away draw to El Kanemi Warriors, the hosts had no win in their last four games and poised to boost their bid for a slot in Caf competition against Kennedy Boboye's side.

Though both sides lost one-man each to the matching order before the half time, Osita Chikere's strike in the 15th minute was enough to guarantee the hosts' win over the visitors.

With the victory, Rivers United are sixth with 32 points from 22 outings, while Plateau United have fallen to third with 36 points in 22 matches.


Wikki Tourists 3-1 Yobe Desert Stars

The Giant Elephants finally brought to end their winless run after they defeated the Desert Warriors 3-1 at the New Jos Stadium.

The Bauchi outfit found themselves in the drop zone, having failed to record a win since they defeated El Kanemi Warriors 3-0 in March and were faced with huge pressure to halt their disappointing run.

Goals from Nasiru Jibrin, Ocheme Edoh and Elijah Ani ensured Bala Nikyu's side obliterated the Damaturu outfit to return to winning ways and earned their seventh win of the season.

Jibrin put the hosts in front in the 34th minute before Edoh doubled the lead two minutes after the restart and Ani increased the tally to 3-0 in the 80th minute but Samuel Agba grabbed a consolation goal for the visitors at the death.

The win lifted Wikki Tourist to 16th on the log with 26 points from 22 matches, while Desert Stars 12th with 28 points from similar games.

Kwara United 3-1 MFM FC

The Harmony Warriors eased their relegation worries as they humbled the Olukoya Boys 3-1 at the Kwara Sports Stadium on Sunday.

Going into the encounter, Kwara played out a 1-1 away draw against Niger Tornadoes recently to stay unbeaten in their last three games and were keen to boost their survival hopes with a win over the visitors.

The hosts started off brightly to secure an early breakthrough when Segun Alebiosu scored in the 16th minute but their celebration did not last long as Siriku Olatunbosun leveled matters for the visitors back 10 minutes later.

Three minutes after the restart, Abubakar Bala's men gained a chance to increase their tally when awarded a penalty and Stephen Alfred wasted no time to restore their lead before Sunday Odudu wrapped up the win 15 minutes from full time.

The win moved Kwara United to 18th with 26 points from 22 games, while MFM dropped to 13th with 27 points from similar matches.

Nasarawa United 0-0 Kano Pillars 

The Solid Miners failed to secure their ninth win of the season in their bid to ease their relegation fears following a 0-0 draw against the Sai Masu Gida Boys at the Lafua City Stadium this weekend.

The Miners lost 2-1 to Plateau United in Jos a week ago and expectedly needed a win to avoid putting themselves at the risk of relegation from the top-flight with a home triumph over high-flying Ibrahim Musa's men.

However, Kabiru Dogo's side failed to subdue their Kano-based counterparts as they were held to a drab goalless stalemate - the second home draw this season for the relegation-haunted hosts.

The draw left Nasarawa United in 14th on the log with 26 points, merely staying off the bottom four on goal-difference, while Kano Pillars reclaimed the second position with 36 points from 22 matches.


Lobi Stars 1-0 Enugu Rangers

The Pride of Benue reopened a four-point gap at the top of the Nigerian top-flight log after they earned a crucial 1-0 win over the Flying Antelopes at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi.

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Prior to the game, the Benue Boys squandered a goal lead to suffering a 2-1 defeat against Plateau United at the New Jos Stadium during the week and were desperate to avoid any slip-up and claim a double over Gbenga Ogunbote's men.

Having won 2-1 in the first leg in Enugu, Anthony Okpotu's solitary second-half effort was enough to gift Solomon Ogbeide's side a slim win as the Makurdi outfit ended the seven-match unbeaten run of the visitors.

Following the win, Lobi Stars remain table-toppers, accruing 40 points from 21 games, while defeated Enugu Rangers are now seventh with 30 points from 22 outings.