Big win for Pillars as Wikki remain top in Nigerian league

With Ikorodu United and Enyimba FC tie rescheduled, match day 24 in the NPFL produced stunning results and a total of 20 goals across eight match centres.

The most glaring of the results, being the 5-0 thumping of Abia Warriors by Kano Pillars at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano.

Wikki Tourists of Bauchi kept their place at the top, despite defeat in Jos to Plateau United, but there were also wins for struggling Heartland FC and title-chasing Rangers.

The Bauchi side knew the outcome of their date with Plateau United will not affect their position on top of the log, and were hoping to continue their impressive run away from home, after securing victory at Ikorodu United and a point against Heartland FC in Owerri on match day 22.

The leaders slipped to their first defeat in six match days, as inspirational substitute, Daddy Francis got the better of Emeka Nwabulu in the 70th minute, before Ogbonna Anayo sealed Plateau United’s win eight minutes later.

It was a harvest of goals in Kano, as the ‘Sai Masu Gida’ bounced back from their disappointing defeat at Wikki on match day 23,  to hit five past visiting Abia Warriors.

Rabiu Ali broke the deadlock in the 10th minute from a penalty, before Razaq Adegbite and Bala Zakka got the second and third respectively, just before the break. Ali got his brace in the 82nd minute, while Nafiu Kabuga grabbed the fifth in added time.

Dele Olorundare’s brace secured maximum points for Sunshine Stars of Akure against southwest neighbours, MFM FC at the Akure Township Stadium. The striker who has been in tremendous form since the beginning of the second half of the season, stunned the visitors in the 72nd minute with a superb free kick, before slotting home the second from a penalty, five minutes later.

Niger Tornadoes have themselves to blame for not pulling the strings away to Nasarawa United in Makurdi. The home side took the lead midway through the first half, courtesy of Abdulrahman Bashir, but Jackson Daniel’s penalty miss late in the first half made the headlines for the wrong reasons, as he would have drew his side level after Samson Gbadebo was sent off for his foul on Usman Bashir that led to the spot kick.

Wasiu Jimoh lined up for FC Ifeanyiubah against his former side, Shooting Stars, at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan, but it was the home side that drew first blood earlier in the first half in a fascinating showpiece.

Afolabi Wahab doubled his side’s advantage in the 75th minute. The visitors had better ideas as they kept their cool till the final moments of the pulsating encounter.

Tamen Mendrano gave Mitko Dobrev’s side a lifeline, from a penalty in the 81st minute, before Onyeabuchi Ajunwa drew level seconds later.

FC Ifeanyiubah completed the game with 10 men, following the sending off of skipper Wilson Elu, five minutes to time, but held on for a point.

Earlier on Saturday, Heartland FC secured their first win in nine outings, with a 2-0 win against visiting Akwa United FC of Uyo. Omo Johnson scored on his debut for the Owerri side minutes after coming on as a substitute, just after the hour mark, while Chinedu Efugh grabbed the second six minutes from time.

Usman Malika’s goal in added time was the difference in Maiduguri as El-Kanemi Warriors edged Lobi Stars of Makurdi by a lone goal.

Rangers’ quest for a first title in 32 years received a major boast on Friday night, following a hard fought 2-1 win at home to Warri Wolves.

Obinna Nwobodo and Godwin Aguda got the goals for the home side, while Warri Wolves consolation came through Zinte Udeh.

LMC/Tahir