Plateau United has reclaim top spot in NPFL
Plateau United produced one of the biggest wins by thrashing ABS FC 4-1 to go top of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NFPL) on Sunday.
Reuben Bala helped himself to a hat-trick of goals after Joshua Obaje had opened the scoring to set the tone for Plateau United’s biggest win so far this season.
Obaje scored on 20 minutes to give Plateau United one-goal up but the lead lasted for just four minutes when Hamisu Saleh turned Mohammed Mohammed’s cross into his goal for ABS’ equaliser.
Three minutes before the break, Bala scored the first of his three goals from the spot after the referee Salihu Tatabu ruled that Ernest Governor handled the ball in his box.
On 70 minutes, Bala turned in Daniel Itodo’s long throw-in to give Plateau United a two-goal cushion.
Bala would step up to score from the spot once again after Ibrahim Omolayo bundled down Ibeh Johnson inside the box to make the score 4-1 to Plateau United.
Plateau United now have 28 points, one more than second-placed MFM FC, who dropped from the summit.
MFM failed to keep top spot after wrestling it from Plateau United last weekend. The Lagos club suffered a 1-0 defeat at Gombe United as Sadiq Shuaibu’s goal proved the difference.
El-Kanemi Warriors remained in third position despite their 1-0 win over Lobi Stars. The Maiduguri club left it late though as Samuel Mathias smashed in the winner in the 84th minute. It was El-Kanemi’s 21st home win on the spin in the league since 10 April, 2016.
It was a bad day at the office for Nigerian champions Enugu Rangers. They were beaten 0-1 at Katsina United from a Timothy Danladi seventh-minute penalty. Rangers are now bottom of the pile, though with three outstanding games to play.
Four-time champions Kano Pillars were on the receiving end when they were dismissed 3-0 by Abia Warriors, who enjoyed their first-ever NPFL win over the Kano club. Abia Warriors got in front through Joel Djondang’s own goal on eight minutes before Sherif Bashir and Sunday Adetunji added gloss to the score.
Thomas Zenke’s late goal for Nasarawa United was enough to snap 3SC’s six-game unbeaten streak at the Lafia City Stadium as the Ibadan club now sit one point above the drop zone.
New boys Remo Stars moved out of bottom spot after a 2-1 win over Wikki Tourists. Debutant Victor Chidume and Victor Mbaoma, returning from injury, scored for the Sky Blue Stars while Richard Jonathan got Wikki’s goal on the stroke of halftime.
Two-time African champions Enyimba had to rely on Mfon Udoh’s goal from the spot on 65 minutes to edge Rivers United, who have been disappointing in recent weeks despite their huge title potential.
At the scenic Confluence Stadium in Lokoja, Niger Tornadoes scraped past Sunshine Stars with a 2-1 win after the away team’s goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo saved spot-kicks by Ifeanyi Okoye and Sadiq Suleiman on four and 67 minutes respectively.
Gabriel Jeremiah scored inside added time of the first half to give Tornadoes the lead before Kehinde Adedipe levelled things on 71 minutes. However, Lukas Yahaya broke the hearts of the Sunshine Stars contingent with a goal in stoppage time of the second half to win the three points for Tornadoes.
The late kickoff of the matchweek between Akwa United and FC Ifeanyiubah at the Nest of Champions ended 1-1. Seka Pascal gave FC Ifeanyiubah a shock lead on three minutes and Akwa United had to toil for 71 minutes before Alhassan Ibrahim scored from Cyril Olisema’s assist.
The draw now represents FC Ifeanyiubah’s first away point of the campaign.
Interestingly, the matchday ended with powerhouses Rangers and Rivers United finding themselves in the bottom-four while the top-three is constituted by Plateau United, MFM and El-Kanemi in that order.