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NPFL Matchday 19 Reviews: Lobi Stars are first stanza champions

13:58 EAT 30/04/2018
Lobi Stars 29022016
The Pride of Benue are the league kings at mid-season after their hard-earned draw against Sunshine Stars in Akure

Abia Warriors 2-1 Rivers United

Abia Warriors returned to winning ways on Sunday at the Umuahia Township Stadium after they defeated Rivers United.

The Warriors had played their last five matches without a win but all thoughts of another unimpressive home result evaporated when Arinze Nwangwu got the curtain raiser from a well-taken free kick in the 38th minute before Ndifreke Effiong doubled the effort in the 48th minute.

The Pride of Rivers, however, reduced the deficit in the 63rd minute through Malachy Ohawume but it turned out to be mere consolation as Emmanuel Deutsch side held firm to win the game played under closed doors.

As a result of the home win, Abia Warriors moved to 10th in the league table with 25 points from 19 games while Rivers United fell from fourth to ninth spot with 27 points from the same number of fixtures. The reverse tie will be played in Port Harcourt next Sunday.


Plateau United 1-0 Katsina United

Plateau United have recorded their second successive home win since their exit from the Caf Confederation Cup after they pipped Katsina United 1-0 at the New Jos Stadium on Sunday.

The Peace Boys have grabbed seven points from possible nine in their last three matches but they had to rely on the 56th-minute effort of Emmanuel Odafe from the penalty spot after an infringement in the Chanji Boys 18-yard box for their latest triumph.

The reigning league champions have risen to fourth in the league table with 28 points from 16 games but are still with three fixtures at hand while the Chanji Boys are now seventh with 27 points from 19 matches after they were beaten for the first time in the last four games.


Enyimba 0-0 Akwa United

Enyimba and Akwa United played an entertaining goalless draw at the UJ Esuene Stadium on Sunday.

The defining moment of the game came in the 41st minute when the People’s Elephant goalkeeper, Fatau Dauda headbutted the Promise Keepers new signing, Ifeanyi Ede in an off the ball incident and was subsequently red carded. Enyimba couldn’t recover from that setback.

The home team needed the heroics of goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai and some good defending as the visitors threatened to score late on.

The draw didn’t do Enyimba’s league title aspiration any good as they went down by two places in the league log to the eighth spot with 27 points from 17 games but are still with two home games at hand against FC Ifeanyi Ubah and Niger Tornadoes. They have gone five games unbeaten since they were beaten 1-0 by Enugu Rangers last month.

Akwa United are sixth in the league table as a result of the hard-earned point in Calabar with 27 points from 16 encounters and they are also with three matches yet to be played against Kano Pillars (away) and El Kanemi Warriors (away), and Plateau United (home).


El Kanemi Warriors 2-0 Nasarawa United

El Kanemi Warriors heaped more misery on Nasarawa United in Maiduguri on Sunday after they thrashed them 2-0 in a league fixture.

It was a relegation war clash but the Borno Army showed they were the more eager of the two sides to leave the drop zone when they struck from close range in the eighth minute through Anthonio Desousa and they ensured the maximum points was theirs when Michael Ohanu who was making his debut for the team doubled the advantage in the 54th minute off Sunday Anthony’s assist.

The victory has taken El Kanemi out of the drop zone for the first time in recent weeks as they are now 15th with 22 points from 18 games while Nasarawa United slipped to 14th spot in the league log with 22 points from 19 games.

Kano Pillars 2-0 Heartland

Junior Lokosa continued his magnificent season with Kano Pillars after he banged in two goals that helped his team record a comfortable home win over Heartland at the Sani Abacha Stadium on Sunday for his 16th goal of the season.

The attacker ended his two games goal drought with the opener for Sai Masu Gida in the 14th minute from Auwalu Ali’s assist before getting the second two minutes after the restart of the second half. It was Pillars first win in the last three games too but neither he nor any of his teammates could add to the two-goal cushion until the final blast of the referee’s whistle.

Pillars have raced to the third spot with 28 points from 18 matches as a result of the home win but Heartland are now last in the league table with 15 points from 19 matches as a result of the docked three points by the League Management Company for the crowd violence that ensued after their 1-1 draw at home to Plateau United and the Sunday loss in Kano.


Sunshine Stars 1-1 Lobi Stars

Sunshine Stars spurned a good chance to further leave the relegation zone for good after they were held to a draw in Akure by Lobi Stars.

The Owena Whales are still in search of their first clean sheet since February 11 after they were almost beaten at home by the Pride of Benue on Sunday. The hosts had the first opportunity to score in the 48th minute when Sikiru Alimi was tripped in the vital area but the striker’s spot-kick effort was saved by Olufemi Kayode in goal for the visitors.

It was as if the tie was headed for a goalless draw when former Sunshine Stars attacker Samad Kadiri nodded his new team into the lead in the 88th minute to the surprise of the home fans but Jide Fatokun ensured they didn’t suffer their first home loss of the season when he struck in the dying moments of the encounter.

The Akure based side remained 16th in the league table with 21 points from 19 games while Solomon Ogbeide’s men continue to soar high as they maintain their first spot with 34 points from 18 games. They are the league’s halfway kings with the second round due to commence next Sunday.


Enugu Rangers 3-0 Wikki Tourists

Enugu Rangers bounced back from two successive home draws to whip Wikki Tourists 3-0 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium on Sunday.

The Flying Antelopes fans had turned on their team after they failed to beat Kwara United and MFM in their last two home matches but the players responded in style with the goals of Godwin Aguda, Christian Madu, and Kelvin Itoya in the 35th, 75th and 76th minutes. It was their second emphatic win of the season after they torn Yobe Desert Stars apart by the same margin on April 1st.

Rangers have thus jumped to fifth with 28 points from 19 games from their previous ninth spot but the Giant Elephants are still in search of their first away point of the season after the setback in Enugu. They have slipped to the relegation zone as they are now 17th in the league log with 21 points from 18 matches.


Go Round 0-0 FC Ifeanyi Ubah

Go Round are finding the heat too hot for them in their debut campaign in the top flight after they lost valuable points at home yet again with their latest draw in Omoku against FC Ifeanyi Ubah.

The Lions have failed to add to the five league wins they have got this season and they have been held to three successive draws at home. They didn’t look like a team that wanted to score against the Anambra Warriors with Ladan Bosso deploying a strategy that didn’t allow their hosts to roam their goal area.

Their latest draw against FC Ifeanyi Ubah meant their draw against Kwara United last week in Ilorin won't count for much as they are still 18th in the league log with 20 points from 18 games while Ladan Bosso’s men are 13th with 23 points from 18 fixtures.


Yobe Desert Stars 0-0 Kwara United

Yobe Desert Stars are fast losing their home invincibility which made them the envious of all at the beginning of the season after they were held to a goalless draw by Kwara United in Damaturu on Sunday.

Before they surrendered their home winning run against Enyimba whom they played a 1-1 draw with last month they had won six successive games before their fans at the August 27 Stadium but they have laboured to win one of the two they have played in Damaturu afterwards. They found it difficult to bridge the defence marshalled by Kwara United’s new signing, Chibuzo Okonkwo and had to settle for a share of the spoils.

The Damaturu side have slid to 12th in the league table with 24 points from 18 games while Kwara United’s revival under coach Abubakar Bala has not really become manifest as they are still 19th in the league log with 19 points from 19 matches.


Niger Tornadoes 1-0 MFM

Niger Tornadoes have now gone nine matches unbeaten after they edged MFM at the Bako Kotangora Stadium, Minna on Sunday in a league tie.

The Ikon Allah Boys are still unbeaten since coach Hamza Abara took charge of the team since February 18 when they were beaten 2-0 by Rivers United in Port Harcourt. They settled the tie against the Olukoya Boys quickly through Abubakar Ndayemo in the 13th minute from the penalty spot after the centre referee spotted an infringement against the visitors.

Tornadoes held on to their single goal lead to leapfrog others to the second spot in the league table with 30 points from 18 games while MFM moved a step backward to 11th in the league log with 24 points from 17 fixtures.