NPFL Matchday 18 Reviews: Katsina United and Niger Tornadoes chase leaders Lobi Stars

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The Promise Keepers, Chanji Boys and Ikon Allah Boys gained home victories while Pride of Benue extended their lead at the top in Makurdi


Kwara United 1-1 Go Round

The Harmony Warriors suffered another slip-up at home as they were held to a 1-1 draw by the Omoku Boys in a Nigerian topflight encounter at the Kwara Sports Complex.

Abubakar Bala's men were on a run of three draws in a row and have hoped for maximum points against fellow struggling elite division newcomers but their bid was dashed in Ilorin.

Stephen Alfred grabbed his eighth goal of the season for the hosts in the 16th minute but Chidi Nwachukwu's 76th minute equaliser gave Ngozi Elechi's side their first-ever away point.

With the draw, Kwara United and Go Round stayed put in 19th and 17th with 18 and 19 points respectively from 17 games apiece.


Katsina United 1-0 El-Kanemi Warriors

The Chanji Boys to the second position on the Nigerian topflight log after they pipped 10-man northern rivals El Kanemi Warriors 1-0 at the Mohammadu Dikko Stadium.

Having secured a 1-1 draw at Abia Warriors, Abdullahi Biffo's men earned their second away point and eager to ensure an unbeaten run in three matches for the first time this season.

After a barren first half, Destiny Ashadi's 53rd-minute strike from the spot ensured the host to earn their eighth win this term as they condemned the visitors to their eighth defeat in 17 outings.

The win saw Katsina in the second place with 27 points from 18 games, while El Kanemi Warriors are 18th with 19 points.


Wikki Tourist 0-0 Enyimba

The highly anticipated battle of Elephants ended in a drab 0-0 stalemate as both teams shared the spoils at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium.

Before the encounter, the People Elephants have earned six draws in their eight away matches this season but needed to consolidate on their progress in the Caf Confederation Cup.

However, Bala Nikyu's side were seeking to bounce back to winning ways following their 2-1 loss at Sunshine Stars but they recorded their third draw at home against the People's Elephants.

The draw means Wikki Tourist are 17th with 21 points from 18 games, while Enyimba are eighth with 23 points from 15 ties.


Niger Tornadoes 1-0 Yobe Desert Stars 

The Ikon Allah Boys have moved into the top-four places in the Nigerian top-flight log after they secured a narrow 1-0 win over 10-man Damaturu Boys at the Bako Kontagora Stadium.

After their 0-0 draw in Enugu, the Minna-based boys enjoyed the seven-match run without defeat and anticipated a home win to maintain their impressive run of form.

With the tie almost heading for a stalemate, Andrew Ikefe's strike at the death that ensured Hamza Abara's side extended their unbeaten run to the eighth successive matches this term. 

After the win, Niger Tornadoes are now third with 27 points - six adrift of leaders Lobi Stars, while Yobe Desert Stars are ninth with 23 points from 17 outings apiece.

 

Lobi Stars 1-0 Kano Pillars

The Pride of Benue stepped up their pursuit to secure Nigeria Professional Football League title after they defeated the 10-man Sai Masu Gida 1-0 at the Aper Aku Stadium.

After their 1-0 win over El Kanemi Warriors, Lobi opened a four-point gap at the summit of the Nigerian league log and needed to extend their lead atop with a win over Ibrahim Musa's side.

A few seconds after Masu Gida's Chris Madaki was sent off, Ayo Saka's header in the 81st minute helped Solomon Ogbeide's side earned their 10th win of the season in Makurdi.

Sunday's win means the Pride of Benue have now gone a six-point clear of closest challengers Katsina United with 33 points, while Kano Pillars are sixth with 25 points from similar 17 games.

 

Nasarawa United 1-0 Abia Warriors

The Solid Miners eased their relegation fears with a narrow 1-0 win over the Uchendu Warriors at the Lafia City Stadium.

Following back-to-back defeats at MFM and Rivers United, Kabiru Dogo's side had fallen into the drop zone but anxiously aim to return to winning ways against the Umuahia-based side. 

It was Shammasu Mohammed's 29th minute effort that powered the Miners to their seventh win of the season and ended their seven-match unbeaten run of the visitors.

The home victory saw Nasarawa United moved to 11th with 22 points from 18 matches, while Abia Warriors are 10th with similar outings.


Akwa United 2-1 Sunshine Stars 

Victor Mbaoma's late strike for the Promise Keepers helped them bounce back as they subdued the Owena Whales at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium.

Before their Caf Confederation Cup exit after Al-Hilal heartbreak, they were without a win in last three league outings in a row and targeted to get their domestic campaign back on track.

Ifeanyi Ifeanyi fired Abdu Maikaba's side ahead from a freekick spot in the 42nd minute but Franklin Sasere helped Henry Abiodun's side restored the parity two minutes after the restart.

Mbaoma's 88th minute effort ensured the Uyo-based side regained their winning form on the domestic scene as they compounded the woes of relegation-troubled Sunshine. 

With the win, Akwa United are now fourth with 26 points from 15 games, while Sunshine Stars are 16th with 20 points from 18 ties.

 

FC Ifeanyi Ubah 0-0 Enugu Rangers

The Anambra Warriors failed to earn a back-to-back home win as they were held to a 0-0 draw by the Flying Antelopes in an Oriental derby at the Ifeanyi Ubah Stadium.

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Ladan Bosso's men recorded a 3-1 home triumph over Sunshine Stars a week ago and craved to maintain their imposing form against Gbenga Ogunbote's side in the regional clash.

However, the home side were forced to their third draw at home as their Enugu-based South-East rivals gained their fourth away draw this term at the expense of Bosso's side in Nnewi.

The draw helped FC Ifeanyi Ubah move to 12th with 22 points from 17 matches, while Enugu Rangers are now seventh with 24 points from similar outings.

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