NPFL Matchday 36 Review: Rivers United set record with season’s most points

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.Yusuf hits 16th goal of the season

.Plateau United lock second spot

Rivers United have set the record for the most points in a league season after they defeated Kano Pillars 1-0 through a stoppage time penalty kick converted by Chidiebube Duru in one of the Nigeria Professional Football League Matchday 36 fixtures played yesterday.

The Pride of Rivers had won the league title the upper weekend with three games to spare with 71 points but they needed three points more to break the record haul for a league season set by defunct Dolphins FC in 2011 being 73 points.

Stanley Eguma’s men set the record of theirs by the virtue of the home win over stubborn Kano Pillars who had Goalkeeper, Joshua Enaholo in impressive form. They have now amassed 74 points, a point better than the Dolphins and they have the prospect of extending it with two games to go before the end of the season.

Plateau United pinned down the second spot with 64 points after a hard fought 2-1 home victory over stubborn Lobi Stars in a North Central derby decided at the New Jos Stadium, Jos.

The Pride of Benue stunned the Peace Boys with the curtain raiser in the fifth minute through Duke Osimaga but a double by ex-Flying Eagles player, Mohammed Zulkifilu in the 20th and 68th minutes to turned the tide. His first goal came from the spot. Zulkifilu has scored nine goals this season.

The victory ensured that Fidelis Ilechukwu tutored Plateau United will end the season in second spot irrespective of what happens in their last two games. Their current 64 points cannot be overreached by third placed Remo Stars who are on 56 points.

At the Remo Stars Stadium, Ikenne, the home team, Remo Stars continued to hold on to the third apot after a 1-0 home win over Enyimba. Sikiru Alimi struck in the 46th minute for his eighth goal of the season to keep the Sky Blue Stars in third position with 56 points while the People’s Elephant fall to the sixth spot with 52 points. It will take a monumental meltdown for Enyimba to finish the season in the top three with only six points to jostle for before the end of the season.

Wikki Tourists defeated Akwa United 2-0 through Taiye Muritala and Prince John first half goals while Niger Tornadoes recorded an away win in Ijebu Ode against already relegated MFM FC to go within three additional points of confirming their topflight status for another season at least.

Munir Idris put the Ikon Allah Boys in the driver’s seat in the 22nd minute before Jonas Emmanuel scored the matchwinner in the 90th minute. The Church Boys managed a consolation goal through Chukwudi Ekeocha in the 63rd minute. Tornadoes are 13th on the log with 46 points and a win at home to Heartland FC next should be enough to keep them in the top-tier league beyond this season.

Kwara United moved to the fourth spot with 55 points after a resounding 3-0 home win over poor Nasarawa United in Ilorin. It was a perfect response for the Harmony Boys 4-0 defeat to Tornadoes in Kaduna in their last away game.

Jide Fatokun, Samad Kadiri and Junior Lokosa were on the score sheets for Kwara United with Kadiri scoring his ninth goal of the season in the mauling of the Solid Miners who are 11th with 47 points.

Abia Warriors had earlier beaten Gombe United 3-2 on Saturday to keep their survival hope alive. Valentine Odoh was at the double in the encounter for his 14th goal of the season while Paul Samson grabbed the other. Abdulazeez Yusuf and Kelechi Chimezie notched the goals for the Desert Scorpions. Yusuf scored his 16th goal of the season to draw level with the duo of Victor Mbaoma and Chijioke Akuneto who are also on 16 goals each also.

Abia Warriors are 12th with 46 points while Gombe United are in the ninth spot with 49 points.

Enugu Rangers suffered a setback in their CAF Confederation Cup pursuit through the league after a lacklustre 2-2 draw at home to Shooting Stars. The Flying Antelopes are in the fifth spot with 53 points and they must win their last two games while hoping that Kwara United and Remo Stars slip up in their remaining games.

Dakkada beat Katsina United 2-0 with Emmanuel Israel scoring his first goal of the season in the tie while Heartland pipped Sunshine Stars 1-0 through Adejoh Ojonugwa’s goal in Owerri. The Naze Millionaires are 18th on the log with 44 points to hang on in the race for league survival.

NPFL22 MD 36 RESULTS

MFM 1-2 Tornadoes
Remo Stars 1-0 Enyimba
Plateau United 2-1 Lobi
Wikki 2-0 Akwa United
Rivers United 1-0 Kano Pillars
Kwara Utd 3-0 Nasarawa United
Heartland 1-0 Sunshine Stars
Rangers 2-2 3SC
Dakkada 2-0 Katsina United
Abia Warriors 3-2 Gombe United

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