NPFL Matchday 20 Review:Akwa United go top; Rangers, Heartland, Nasarawa United grab important wins

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Akwa United have moved to the top of Nigeria Professional Football League after a face-saving 2-1 victory over Sunshine Stars at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo guaranteed their ascendancy.

Enugu Rangers toppled Enyimba 2-0 with both goals from the penalty spot in either half. Heartland bagged a massive three away points in Gombe against Adamawa United while there were home wins for Plateau United, Katsina United, and Rivers United. Kano Pillars with a smash and grab away point at Warri Wolves.

Akwa United have risen to the top of the NPFL again after they subdued rejuvenated Sunshine Stars 2-1. Charles Atshimene put the Promise Keepers’ nose in front in the 21st minute but Owena Whales’ Sadeeq Yusuf who is the league’s leading scorer with nine goals leveled the scores in the 35th minute. Seth Mayi riffled home the winner and the three points has taken Akwa United to the top albeit on goals difference over Kano Pillars who got a 1-1 draw at Ozoro against Warri Wolves. Both teams are on 37 points after 20 games.

Kwara United fell from the top to the third position after a 2-1 loss to Nasarawa United in the North Central derby played in Lafia yesterday. Anas Yusuf and Silas Nwankwo scored the two goals for the Solid Miners in the 48th and 67th minutes while Wasiu Alalade reduced the arrears for the Harmony Boys from a goalmouth scramble in the 90th minute. The Solid Miners improved to the sixth spot with 33 points.

Rivers United thrashed Dakkada 2-0 to exert their 4-2 defeat in Uyo to move to the fourth position with 35 points. Sunday Adetunji made it two goals from two games when he opened the scores in the 20th minute before Ghanaian import, Paul Acquah doubled the advantage with a crisp finish in the 32nd minute.

At the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium, Katsina, Katsina United went goal berserk in Azeez Muhammed’s first game in charge with a thrilling 5-1 win over Wikki Tourists who finished the game with 10 men after Nazifi Yahaya’s dismissal. Joseph Atule, Rasheed Ahmed (2), Samuel Nnoshiri and Samuel Kalu were all on the score sheet for the Changi Boys. The emphatic win lifted them to the 14th spot with 24 points.

Heartland FC grabbed their second away win of the season at the Pantami Stadium, Gombe. Kingsley Maduforo with the decisive goal in the 80th minute as the Naze Millionaires moved to the eighth spot with 29 points while Rangers silenced Enyimba 2-0 in an Oriental derby. Two penalties in the 54th and 92nd minutes converted by Christian Nnaji and debutant, Elijah Ani settled the game. The Flying Antelopes returned to the fifth spot with 33 points while Enyimba slid to the seventh spot with 31 points with two games at hand.

Plateau United needed the goal brilliance of Ibrahim Mustapha before beating Abia Warriors 2-1. Mustapha otherwise known as Yuga netted twice in the sixth and 50th minutes while Fatai Abdullahi got a consolation goal and his seventh of the season for Abia Warriors.

Warri Wolves came from a goal down to salvage a 1-1 draw at home to Kano Pillars who ended the game with 10 players after Dennis Ndasi was red-carded in the dying moments of the first game. Auwalu Malam Ali popped home Sai Masu Gida’s goal in the 58th minute before Mark Daniel restored parity in the 86th minute from the penalty spot for the Seasiders. The point ensured Pillars are second on the log only by goals difference to Akwa United.

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