Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rangers solidify grip on title

Table-topping Enugu Rangers took a significant step on Wednesday towards winning their first Nigeria Premier League (NPL) title in 28 years.

Rangers won all the points at bottom-placed Ocean Boys courtesy of a 1-0 win on Matchday 34.

Other title contenders, Kano Pillars, Lobi Stars, Enyimba and champions, Dolphins were also in action on Wednesday.

Super Eagles' winger, Ejike Uzoenyi missed scoring before an open goal on 31 minutes.

It was, however, former Enyimba man, Ifeanyi Ede that made sure Rangers scored before their rivals for the title on 41 minutes on this matchday.

At the Emmanuel Atongo Stadium in Katsina-Ala, Jonah Abutu's free kick two minutes into added time brought life into Lobi Stars' quest for a continental slot against Enyimba.

Kano Pillars and Dolphins, on the other hand, were battling their hosts, Sharks and Heartland respectively, to goalless draws as at the first 45 minutes.

Dolphins were spared by first half misses from Kabiru Umar while Kano Pillars kept Sharks' forward line quiet in Port Harcourt.

Enyimba's chase for a seventh title suffered a blow when Abutu stepped up to convert from the spot on 58 minutes to give Lobi a two-goal lead.

Back in Owerri, substitute Obinna Nwachukwu's goal five minutes from the end broke the hearts of Dolphins' contingent looking to return to Port Harcourt with a point.

And in Port Harcourt, Kano Pillars extended their unbeaten run to six by playing out a goalless draw at Sharks.

Rangers remain top of the Premier League standings on 58 points and three points ahead of Kano Pillars in second position.

Lobi Stars are now in third spot on 54 points while Enyimba and Dolphins are in fourth and fifth places respectively on 52 and 51 points accordingly.

Sibi Gwar scored twice in Niger Tornadoes' 3-1 win over Kwara United to take his league goals this term so far to 16.

Lukman Mohammed scored the other goal for Tornadoes while Segun Alebiosu's goal could not influence things for Kwara United.

Akwa United captain, Nnamso Edo was the match winner as his side beat Wikki Tourists 1-0 in Uyo.

3SC suffered a two-goal loss at Jigawa Stars, who are battling for survival. Azeez Akata and Bala Mohammed scored the goals.

Caf Champions League campaigners, Sunshine Stars defeated city rivals, Rising Stars 2-1 in a game in which the away side had Jonah Ayamfe sent off.

Godfrey Oboabona converted a first half penalty for the hosts and Izu Azuka doubled the lead on the hour mark before Segun Bajowa reduced the tally two minutes later.

On Thursday, two games will hold in Warri and Ilorin.

Warri Wolves will play hosts to Kaduna United while ABS FC aim to take four points off Gombe United this term.

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