Akwa United battled hard to earn a valuable away win against Yobe Desert Stars in Damaturu on Sunday in a week 24 match, the win reduced the gap between them and league leaders Lobi Stars to just two points.
The Promise Keepers secured the away victory playing with 10 men in the better part of the match as Ayobami Asekunowo of Akwa United was given the marching orders in the 45th minute of the encounter.
Michael Okoro Ibe scored the only goal of the match in the 76th minute when he tapped home Mathew Etim’s cross from close range to give Akwa United the lead which they preserved to the end of the match despite massive pressure from the host. The win ensures that Abdu Maikaba’s men remain in the second position on the table with 43 points from 24 matches.
A goal by Go Round’s Shedrack Oghali in the 69th minute condemned table toppers Lobi Stars to their seventh league defeat of the season. The win moved Go Round to 16th on the table with 29 points from 24 matches.
Kano Pillars failed to register a win over visiting Rivers United at the Sani Abacha Stadium for the first time in three seasons as both teams settled for a 1-1 draw in Kano.
Rivers United took an early lead as Osita Henry Chikere nodded home the opener for the Pride of Rivers, Port Harcourt based team in the 12th minute after an inviting cross by Markson Ojobo.
Junior Lokosa making his return to Pillars’ starting line-up after failing to make the Super Eagles team to the World Cup equalised for the home team just four minutes after the break. It was Lokosa’s 19th goal of the campaign.
Rivers United ended the game with 10 men after Musa Newman was sent off in the 77th minute. The draw extended Kano Pillars unbeaten streak to seven games and ensured that Mesu Gida remains third on the table with 38 points from 24 matches.
Defending League Champions Plateau United needed a 90th-minute Saidu Salisu penalty to force visiting Abia Warriors to an entertaining 2-2 draw in Jos.
Saidu Salisu scored the first goal of the encounter in the 49th off a free kick to give Kennedy Boboye’s men the lead but Sunday Adetunji gave the visiting team a well-deserved equaliser when he scored in the 68th minute.
Abia Warriors took the lead for the first time in the match just two minutes later when Obi Samson scored his ninth goal of the season to shock the highly expectant home fans of Plateau United at the New Jos Township Stadium.
Plateau United was awarded a penalty in the 85th minute of the match when Kabiru Ayinde fouled home base Super Eagles striker Tosin Omoyele inside the box but Reuben Bala’s kick was saved by Abia Warriors goal stopper Uche Okafor.
The home team was saved from an embarrassing home loss when Plateau United was awarded another penalty at the brink of 90 minutes and this time around Saidu Salisu was on hand to convert the spot kick for his second goal of the encounter.
At the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar, Enyimba international comfortably overcame visiting Katsina United 2-0 with a 13th-minute penalty from Uche John and a 67th-minute strike by Joseph Osadiaye helping the Aba Elephant record their 9th win of the campaign.
At the Akure Township stadium, Sunshine Stars who handed debuts to two of their new signings, Kunle Odunlami and Ajibola Otegbeye, comfortably dispatched Nasarawa United 2-0 with goals from Jide Fatokun in the 28th minute and Sikiru Alimi in the 88th minute.
Niger Tornadoes outclassed visiting Wikki Tourists 1-0 at the Bako Kontagora Stadium in Minna through a Mubarak Ejiogu’s 28th-minute strike. The win moved the Minna based outfit to sixth on the table with 37 points from 24 matches.
Enugu Rangers won the Oriental battle by defeating Heartland of Owerri 1-0 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium courtesy of Ifeanyi George’s 24th-minute strike, the loss was Heartland’s eleventh of the season and they are rooted to the bottom of the league table with 19 points from 23 matches.
Kwara United was able to gather all three point with a hard-fought win over visiting Ifeanyi Ubah in Ilorin. Chinedu Sunday’s 14th-minute strike decided the encounter in favour of the home team. The win kept the Afonja Warriors one point clear of the relegation zone with 29 points from 24 matches.
MATCH DAY 24 LEAGUE RESULTS
Kwara United 1-0 Ifeanyi Ubah FC
Niger Tornadoes 1-0 Wikki Tourist
Yobe Desert Stars 0-1 Akwa United
Go Round 1-0 Lobi Stars
Rangers 1-0 Heartland
Enyimba 2-0 Katsina United
Sunshine Stars 2-0 Nasarawa United
Kano Pillars 1-1 Rivers United
Plateau United 2-2 Abia Warriors