Ibeh Johnson scored for a third consecutive league game to send Nigeria Professional Football League table toppers Plateau United six points clear on top of the table after a 1-0 win over nearest challengers MFM.
Johnson’s strike came in the 3rd minute of the Match Day 34 encounter in Jos and the hosts held on to the victory to give themselves more breathing space in the race for the title.
There were emphatic victories littered across the league centres especially for teams with continental aspirations. Akwa United and Enyimba continued their own two-horse race for the final continental spot by scoring three goals against their respective opponents few kilometers apart in Uyo and Calabar.
United, without four of their regulars due to national team engagement hammered Niger Tornadoes 3-0 at the Nest of Champions. Cyril Olisema gave the Promise Keepers the lead from the penalty spot on 27 minutes before Gabriel Okechukwu doubled the lead ten minutes later. Homeboy Edem Akakatang provided icing on the cake for the hosts in stoppage time.
In Calabar, former champions Enyimba thrashed ABS by same scoreline with Stanley Dimgba heading the People’s Elephant in front on the quarter hour mark. The hosts made it 2-0 in first half stoppage time courtesy of Eric Frimpong’s first goal of the season before Ibrahim Mustapha sealed the deal 25 minutes to the end.
The other big winners on Match Day 34 were relegation haunted Rivers United who all but confirmed Remo Stars’ drop to the second tier of Nigeria football after inflicting a 3-1 loss on the Sky Blues in Shagamu. Winger Bernard Ovoke gave United an early lead before in-form Emeka Ogbugh added his team’s second. Esosa Igbinoba scored United’s third but there was still time for Salefu Ochowechi to score a consolation for the hosts.
There were narrow home victories for Nasarawa United and outgoing champions Rangers. United left it late to beat Lobi Stars 1-0 courtesy of Jafar Buhari’s goal while Chibuzor Madu’s 27th minute penalty was the winner for Rangers in Enugu.
Katsina United did their survival hopes a world of good after two first half goals helped them to a 2-0 victory over Wikki Tourists. Returning stars Chinedu Udechukwu and Destiny Ashadi, the former from the spot scored both goals for United in Katsina.
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In Umuahia, Abia Warriors all but assured their safety after a routine 2-0 win over Shooting Stars. Ndifreke Effiong gave the hosts a first half lead before his effort was diverted into his own goal by Alaba Osawe to make the game safe for the hosts.
Gombe United continued their unlikely bid to escape the dreaded drop when they beat Kano Pillars 1-0 at the Patami Stadium. After a scoreless first half, Abdullahi Ibrahim scored from a free kick six minutes after the restart to restore Manu Garba’s side’s fading hopes.
The final Match Day 34 will be decided on Monday morning between El-Kanemi Warriors and FC Ifeanyiubah.