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NPFL 21: Just One Point For Akwa United To Become Champions

Austin Okon-Akpan  
Updated July 29, 2021
File photo of Akwa United Football Club before a league match.

 

Akwa United Football Club of Uyo is now one point away from being crowned champions of the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League season.

The Promise Keepers consolidated their push towards the league title playing 1-1 with FC Ifeanyi Ubah on matchday 36 in Nnewi, a vital point that will keep them ready for their next league assignment against MFM Football Club of Lagos. If they get a point or win that match in Uyo, they will win the NPFL title.

They have also sealed continental football for next season.

In the clash at Nnewi, Ubong Friday shot the league leaders into the lead in the 77th minute with a brilliant free-kick before Uzochukwu Ifejiofor headed the hosts back on level terms three minutes from time as both teams shared the spoils in a fixture that the Anambra Warriors needed a win so bad to consolidate on their efforts to stay in the NPFL.

Akwa United are on 68 points from 36 matches, with a massive goal difference of +27 and with just four losses so far, the league title is definitely theirs to lose.

Slim Hopes For Solid Miners, Enyimba & Pillars

In Uyo, a major league contender, Nasarawa United held Dakkada FC to a goalless draw to stay in the race for the title. The Solid Miners, the highest goalscoring team in the league did all they could to get the win but the Chosen Ones kept the visitors checked to secure a point.

With the result, Nasarawa United maintained their second spot on the log but improved to 62 points.

The only hope for coach Bala Nikyu’s team to stay in the race for the title is if Akwa United lose their next match against MFM FC and they win theirs against Rangers International on matchday 37 in Lafia. Dakkada moved to 9th on the table with 50 points.

 

 

Kano Pillars dropped to 4th on the log after a disappointing 1-0 loss at Kwara United. Michael Ohanu scored the only goal of the encounter for the Harmony Boys to keep their home invincibility, secured a 17th win of the season and returned to 6th on the log.

The defeat puts a bad dent on the league ambitions of Sai Masu Gida who can only hope to bounce back in their next fixture against Wikki Tourists. It means Enyimba will move to third position after playing 1-1 with Lobi Stars in Makurdi. In the opening minutes of the match, Samuel Tiza opened scoring for the hosts but just before half time, Reuben Bala scored from the spot for the People’s Elephant.

Drama, Intrigues & Goals

It was a festival of goals in Okigwe as Abia Warriors thrashed relegated Adamawa United 5-1 to keep hopes alive in retaining top-flight football.

Man on fire, Chukwuemeka Obioma, scored a hat-trick while Godwin Obaje and Yakub Hammed registered goals to secure the Warriors 11th win of the season and moved them to an almost safe 14th on the log with 44 points.

It was also goals galore in Bauchi as Wikki Tourists beat Heartland 4-2 to continue their fight against relegation. The Tourists are 15th on the log with 42 points and have a difficult task against Kano Pillars on matchday 37.

Sunshine Stars also strengthened their fight to avoid the drop with a 3-2 win over Plateau United. It was a game filled with drama and it started from the 80th minute. The hosts were leading 2-1 when the visitors won a penalty and missed it. In the 83rd minute, the Peace Boys were awarded another penalty in the 90th minute and this time it was scored by Zulkifilu Muhammed. Scores levelled!

In the closing minutes of additional time, Ejike Uzoenyi scored to give the Owena Whales a crucial win. The screams from the stadium was heard all over South-West Nigeria. It’s the 10th win of the season for Sunshine Stars, a team that has struggled with this campaign. They are now 16th on the log and if they can win their next match against Enyimba in Aba, they might be saved from relegation.

There was also drama in Lagos where MFM FC staged an unbelievable comeback against Rivers United. Nelson Esor and defender Joseph Onoja scored to give the Pride of Rivers a healthy 2-0 lead and just when they thought it was done and dusted, the Olukoya boys initiated a fight in the 90th minute. Imeh Atobasi pulled one back and minutes later, Michael Mbonu with a stunning strike rescued a point for the hosts.

In Enugu, Rangers International FC beat Katsina United 1-0 to record their 17th win of the season while Jigawa Golden Stars and Warri Wolves, two teams fighting relegation played 1-1 to wrap up matchday 36 action that produced 29 goals, five victories, and five draws.

NIGERIA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Matchday 36 Results

FC Ifeanyi Ubah 1 Akwa United 1

Dakkada FC 0 Nasarawa United 0

Kwara United 1 Kano Pillars 0

Lobi Stars 1 Enyimba 1

Abia Warriors 5 Adamawa United 1

Wikki Tourists 4 Heartland FC 2

Sunshine Stars 3 Plateau United 2

MFM FC 2 Rivers United 2

Rangers Int’l FC 1 Katsina Utd 0

Jigawa Golden Stars 1 Warri Wolves 1