The 33rd Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) weekend games produced 20 goals, nine home wins and one draw. Rabiu Alli of Kano Pillars and Francis Edem of Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) scored two goals each, while Bayelsa United beat Enyimba by a lone goal to move to the top of the log with three points clear. 3SC defeated Enugu Rangers 2-1 in an old rivalry battle; the Solid Miners forced Akwa United to a one-all draw, and Lobi Stars moved out of the basement after a sneaky victory over Kaduna United.
Akwa United 1 – 1 Nasarawa United
The Mfon Udoh goal in the 33rd minute was not good enough for the Promise Keepers to earn the maximum points as league top scorer Victor Namo’s effort in the 44th minute denied the homers the full points. Both teams now have 43 points each from 33 games. However, Akwa United drop a step down to the relegation zone, while Nasarawa United are on the 17th position.
3SC 2 – 1 Enugu Rangers
It was indeed an old rivalry battle on Sunday at the Adamasigba Stadium in Ibadan, as the Oluyole Warriors defeated Enugu Rangers 2-1. Defender Francis Edem was the hero in that encounter, as his brace gave Shooting Stars the desired three points. 3SC have now accrued 39 points from 33 matches after the League Management Company (LMC) docked three points from the Ibadan team following the abandoned match against Sunshine Stars.
Sunshine Stars 1 – 0 Sharks FC
Gbenga Ogunbote’s men failed to pick a point in Akure, as Philip Auta’s 45th minute strike gave Akure Gunners the maximum points on Sunday. The Blue Angels gave good account of themselves, but their efforts were not good enough to earn the crucial away point. Sunshine Stars now have 47 points from 33 league games. They maintain the 7th spot on the league standings.
ABS FC 2 – 1 Heartland FC
The Naze Millionaires were beaten 2-1 by struggling Bukola Saraki Boys on Sunday at the Kwara State Stadium in Ilorin. Two goals from Abdulrahman Bashir and Zenke Thomas in the 15th and 33rd minutes secured three points for the Kabir Dogo side, while Emeka Ogbugh scored the Heartland consolation goal in the 22nd minute. ABS are stuck on 44 points, while Heartland FC have 45 points.
Bayelsa 1 – 0 Enyimba
Bayelsa United on Sunday marched past Enyimba in the top-of-the-table clash to return to the summit, as the Uche Ihuarulam strike in the 18th minute of play separated the two sides. The Restoration Boys now have 55 points, while Enyimba drop to the fourth spot with 52 points.
Wikki Tourists 3 – 0 Nembe City
The Tourists secured the biggest win of Matchday 33 with a stunning 3-0 win over Nembe City in Bauchi on Sunday as Ibrahim Shuaibu, Victor Alegbe and Festus Umanah each got a goal for the homers, who are battling with the basement. The two teams are on the same number of points – 44 from 33 league matches – as they maintained the18th and 19th position respectively.
Kano Pillars 2 – 0 Warri Wolves
League Champions Kano Pillars began their banishment away from home on Sunday with a remarkable 2-0 victory over 2013 Federation Cup runner-up Warri Wolves in Kaduna. The Sai Masu Gida influential midfielder Rabiu Ali scored twice in the second half of the game, as the Pillars climb to third place with 54 points.
Lobi Stars 2 – 1 Kaduna United
Two goals from Austin Ogbodo and Esosa Igbinoba put Lobi Stars ahead against Kaduna United in the first 45 minutes, before Siman Yusuf consoled the Crocodiles with a goal in the tail end of the game on Sunday at the Emmanuel Atongo Stadium in Markurdi. The Benue Army are now on the 12 position with 45 points.
Dolphins 1 – 0 Kwara United
An injury time goal headed in by former Nigeria under-20 winger Emem Eduok was all that the Pride of Rivers needed to seal a win for their teeming fans on Sunday at the Liberation City Stadium in Port Harcourt. The visitors dominated the second 45 minutes of the keenly contested match, but they failed to convert their chances before Emem broke their heart. Both teams now have 47 points, but the Afonja Warriors are on the 6th spot on the NPFL log, while Dolphins have risen to 8th position.
El Kanemi 1 – 0 Gombe United
Chadian striker Hassan Hissein‘s goal in the 31st minute turned out to be the match winner after 90 minutes of play on Sunday, as the host pipped Gombe United in Maiduguri. The Borno Warriors reduced the gap on league leaders Bayelsa United to take the second spot with 54 points and an appreciable goal difference over Kano Pillars.
– Written by Wale Quadri. Follow him on his Twitter handle ‘@walequadri’