Sports

Nigeria: NPFL Round-Up – Abia Warriors, Plateau United Win Derbies


Both teams preserved their impressive home records in the NPFL this season with victories over their regional rivals.

All the matchday 32 fixtures of the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, were decided on Sunday in different venues across the country.

Aside from MFM which blew their chance of amassing vital three points at home with a draw against Lobi Stars, the other nine games recorded home victories with a total of 16 goals.

Abia Warriors trounced Enugu Rangers two-nil to extend their home victories to nine games this season.

Odoh Valentine’s first-half goal and Paul Samson’s second-half strike dealt a big blow on Rangers’ renewed drive for a shot at a continental ticket.

The game between Abia Warriors and Rangers began before other league games at 2 pm in Okigwe.

Being an Oriental derby, it was the talk of the town in the South East region where the two sides command a large fan base.

In the fourth minute, Rangers pulled the first attack on the hosts with Kenechukwu Agu’s freekick swung towards Abia Warriors’ goalkeeper, Pius Ibrahim.

Rangers got another chance in the 21st minute after Yeo Chacool’s error was capitalized on by Nwobodo but Abia Warriors’ goalkeeper, Pius Ibrahim was fast enough to stop the attack.

Though the Flying Antelopes had the upper hand in the number of chances created, it was the host that shot into the lead late in the first half.

Valentine Odoh’s 11th goal of the season; a header helped Abia Warriors in breaking the deadlock.

The hosts, after their late goal in the first half, doubled the lead from Paul Samson’s counterattack barely three minutes into the second half.

Despite the defeat, Rangers still maintain the third position with 51 points while Abia Warriors stay in the 12th position with 39 points.

While the Oriental derby was ongoing in Okigwe, Heartland were busy with Akwa United in neighbouring Owerri.

The Naze Millionaires once again boosted their chance of escaping relegation with their lone goal victory over the Promise Keepers.

Adeniji Adewale’s goal in the 47th minute sealed Heartland’s 10th home victory of the season.

The striker connected with Murphy Ndukwu’s through ball in the box area to slot past Goalkeeper, Uche Okafor.

Although Heartland are still occupying the 18th position, they have 37 points while Akwa United are in the eighth spot with 45 points.

Meanwhile, the Northern derby between Plateau United and Kano Pillars ended one-nil in favour of the Peace Boys.

Jesse Akila scored in the 40th minute as Plateau United returned to winning ways after their loss to Rivers United last Thursday.

The Peace Boys have now reduced Rivers United’s points margin to seven after the PortHarcourt landlords lost to Wikki Tourists by a lone goal.

For Pillars, their safety from relegation is far from guaranteed as they are hanging on in the 16th position with 38 points.

Draw

Both MFM and Lobi Stars failed to do themselves any good in their battle to escape relegation after both sides ended their tie in Ijebu in a barren draw.