NPFL 21: Akwa United Takes Bold Step Towards League Title
Akwa United Football Club of Uyo have taken a bold step towards winning the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League title after a convincing 3-0 victory over Warri Wolves.
With the victory, the Promise Keepers have also opened a 6-point lead at the top of the table and it’s looking good for them because Kano Pillars and Nasarawa United recorded losses on matchday 34.
Warri Wolves, playing to avoid the drop were out of ideas on how to stop a team who were within touching distance to the league title. Seven minutes into the match, Ikechukwu Nwani fired a shot towards the goal and it was handled by Warri Wolves defender. Penalty to Akwa United. Charles Atshimene who is enjoying good form stepped up to the spot and scored his 13th goal of the season.
The hosts weren’t done. They wanted more and kept pushing till they doubled the lead in the 26th minute. Samuel Amadi penetrated the visitors’ defense lie and combined well with Ubong Friday who curled the ball into the net. Akwa United took a 2-goal lead into the break.
When play resumed, the Promise Keepers continued were they stopped in the first. In the 58th minute, Samuel Amadi directed a delightful corner kick towards Atshimene, the striker followed with a beautiful header to secure his brace and a 3-0 lead for coach Kennedy Boboye’s team. It’s Atshimene’s 14th goal of the season and Akwa United’s 17th win of the campaign. The defeat is the 18th for Warri Wolves this season and a major setback to their relegation fight.
Rangers International Football Club recorded their 16th win of the season with a 2-0 win over Kano Pillars. It is a humbling defeat for Sai Masu Gida who also had league title ambitions with Akwa United just before the match. An early goal by Christian Nnaji gave the Flying Antelopes a good start to the encounter. Just before half-time, midfielder, Archibong Eso doubled the lead for coach Salisu Yusuf’s team. In the second half, they defended the goals to secure a vital win. Kano Pillars will remain in third position with 58 points.
At the Aper Aku Stadium, Nasarawa United put up a fight against Lobi Stars, but it was not just good enough to stop them from losing 3-2. Silas Nwankwo scored both goals for the Solid Miners to increase his goal count to 16 but his team will leave Makurdi with nothing. Mathias Martins also bagged a brace for Lobi but it was Austin Ogunye’s goal just at the start of second half that secured the win for Coach Kabiru Dogo’s team. They are now 7th on the log with 53 points. Nasarawa United maintains their 2nd spot with 58 points.
At the Agege Stadium in Lagos, MFM FC beat Plateau United 3-1 to get into the top 10. The reliable Akanni Elijah scored a brace while Tunde Azeez goal in the 74th minute wrapped up a fine performance for the Olukoya Boys. Defender Ibrahim Buhari scored the only goal for Plateau United.
Rivers United’s hopes to return to the top four was dashed after they lost 2-1 to Jigawa Golden Stars while Abia Warriors proved they can fight to stay in the league with a 2-1 victory over Heartland FC. Meanwhile, the struggle of Sunshine Stars is not yet over. The Owena Whales played a goalless draw with Katsina United in Akure, putting themselves under more pressure as the relegation battle gets intense.
NIGERIA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Matchday 34 Results
Akwa United 3 Warri Wolves 0
Rangers Int’l FC 2 Kano Pillars 0
Lobi Stars 3 Nasarawa United 2
MFM FC 3 Plateau United 1
Jigawa Golden Stars 2 Rivers United 1
Abia Warriors 2 Heartland FC 1
Sunshine Stars 0 Katsina United 0