Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dolphins wrap up NPL as champions

Dolphins have been crowned as champions of the 2010/2011 Nigeria Premier League (NPL) season after edging Sunshine Stars by two points on the final day.

For the Jos teams – Plateau United and Juth – it was a sad end to the season as they were relegated alongside Crown FC and Zamfara United.

Our predictor got eight results correct including one exact score in our preview for the games.

Niger Tornadoes 1 – 1 Warri Wolves
Warri Wolves secured a 2012 Caf Confederation Cup place after holding Niger Tornadoes to a 1 – 1 draw in Minna. Sibi Gwar hit the first goal of the game on the hour mark but Efe Yarhere made sure that Wolves earn themselves a point five minutes later.

Wolves finished in third place in the standings with 66 points while Tornadoes ended up outside of the top half.

Sharks 1 – 0 Kwara United
The Blue Angels finished the season on a winning note courtesy a goal win over Kwara United. Mani Usman got the winner on 60 minutes to ensure that the home side finished in sixth position with 63 points.

Kadiri Ikhana’s Kwara United ended up in ninth position with 10 points behind Sharks.

Enugu Rangers 2 – 1 Crown FC
For the second week running youngster Emeka Eze, tipped as one to watch by before the start of the just-ended season, scored for Enugu Rangers. Winger Ejike Uzoenyi got the second goal for Rangers against relegated Crown FC, whose goal was scored by Soler Esiaku.

Rangers miss out on a 2012 Wafu Club Cup ticket finishing in fifth with 63 points.

Plateau United 1 – 0 Heartland
It was heart-break for Plateau United and their fans, as their 1 – 0 win could not save them from the drop. Obadiah Longji scored in the 46th minute against Federation Cup holders, Heartland but Plateau United finished the season fourth from the bottom with 44 points while Heartland came up at 11th.

3SC 1 – 0 Lobi Stars
Raheem Owolabi’s eighth minute goal was just what 3SC needed to hold on to against Lobi Stars at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium to escape relegation. The win ensured that Fatai Amoo’s men finished three points above the drop zone while Lobi Stars ended up in 10th place with 53.

Bukola Babes 0 – 1 Dolphins
Dolphins made it 23 wins this season – and five away victories – to emerge Nigerian champions for the third time in their history. Striker Derrick Amadi proved once again to be the man for the big occasion as his early goal secured the points and title at Bukola Babes.

Stanley Eguma’s men finished two points more than Sunshine Stars and Bukola Babes ended two places outside of the top half.

Zamfara United 1 – 1 Ocean Boys
Ocean Boys were close to picking their first away win of the season until that was punctured at the death. Collins Nwaneri put the 2006 champions in front to hand them a life line of escaping the drop and Abdullahi Anas put Zamfara United on level terms right on the stroke of full time.

Ocean Boys escape relegation finishing fifth from the bottom while Zamfara United are relegated for the first time in five years.

Gombe United 2 – 0 Kaduna United
Goals from Usman Suleiman and Mustapha Babadidi made sure that the Desert Scorpions got their 14th win of the season in this inconsequential match against Kaduna United.

Gombe United ended up in 13th place while Kaduna United finished in eighth position.

Enyimba 2 – 0 Juth
Centre-back Musa Mustapha helped himself with a brace against relegated Juth. The lanky defender scored in each half to secure all points for Enyimba, who miss out on a continental place next year.

The dethroned league champions finished in a distant seventh position on the standings and 12 points off the summit.

Kano Pillars 1 – 0 Sunshine Stars
It was a tight contest between the two sides inside a filled Sani Abacha Stadium. Abdul Haruna struck a sweet goal for Kano Pillars to end the title ambition of Sunshine Stars. But Gbenga Ogunbote’s men were denied a clear spot kick after Kayode Thompson Abiodun was felled in the home side’s goal area.

Sunshine Stars will take solace from picking one of the two spots to next year’s Caf Champions League while Kano Pillars will play in the Wafu Cup.

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