The back and forth race for the league title took another dimension yesterday when Akwa United reclaimed the leadership of the table after a 2-1 home win over fourth-placed, Kwara United at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo in one of the Matchday 24 games played across Nigeria.
The Promise Keepers raced to a two goal lead through Ubong Friday and Nasiru Jibrin in the 38th and 69th minutes but the Harmony Boys made it a fascinating finish when substitute, Wasiu Alalade reduced the tally in the 80th minute barely seven minutes after his introduction.
Akwa United are on top with 45 points from 23 matches ahead of Kano Pillars who drew goalless in Jos against Plateau United. Sai Masu Gida are second with the same 45 points as the Promise Keepers but with inferior goals difference. Plateau United slipped to the 11th spot with 32 points.
Heartland FC extended their unbeaten run against Enyimba to eight games after they drew goalless at the Enyimba International Stadium, Aba in a game featured live on NPFL.Tv. The People’s Elephant thus slipped up in their title defence to the seventh spot with 35 points but they have four games at hand including three in Aba. Heartland are 10th with 34 points.
Lobi Stars, Katsina United, Nasarawa United and MFM secured three points each in their home fixtures with Sunshine Stars, Warri Wolves, Adamawa United and Dakkada FC.
The Pride of Benue started sluggishly when the Owena Whales got the curtain raiser through Ugonna Uzochukwu in the 15th minute but two goals within the space of six minutes through John Lazarus and Ossy Martins in the 18th and 26th minutes changed the tide. Lobi moved to the 8th spot with 34 points but Sunshine Stars who are yet to win a game in 17 matches remain in the 18th spot with 21 points.
Samuel Nnoshiri’s seventh goal of the season in the 33rd minute lifted the Chanji Boys above the Seasiders in Katsina. Katsina United are in the 15th spot with 25 points but Warri Wolves plummet to the 17th position with 24 points.
Nasarawa United and MFM jumped to the third and ninth spots with 42 points and 34 points respectively after a lone goal victory each over Adamawa United and Dakkada FC. Ebuka Anaekwe scored the Solid Miners in the 37th minute while Olukoya Boys who have now gone five games unbeaten got their own goal through Oladayo Alabi in the 69th minute.
Earlier, Rangers and FC IfeanyiUbah ended their affair goalless in another Oriental derby just like the way the affair between Enyimba and Heartland FC in Aba. Rangers retained their sixth spot with 38 points from 23 games while FC IfeanyiUbah are still 19th with 21 points.
Rivers United could move to the third spot if they beat Wikki Tourists on Monday in a rearranged league tie delayed for live broadcast purposes while Jigawa Golden Stars will slug it out with Abia Warriors also on Monday evening in a repeat of the of the first round tie which Jigawa Golden Stars won 3-1 in Aba.
NPFL21 Matchday 24 FULL-TIME RESULTS
FC Ifeanyiubah 0-0 Rangers
Nasarawa Utd 1-0 Adamawa Utd
Plateau Utd 0-0 Kano Pillars
Enyimba 0-0 Heartland
Akwa Utd 2-1 Kwara Utd
MFM 1-0 Dakkada
Lobi Stars 2-1 Sunshine Stars
Katsina Utd 1-0 Warri Wolves
Fixtures for Monday May 31st
Rivers United vs Wikki Tourists
Jigawa Golden Stars vs Abia Warriors