Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lobi, Pillars grab all the marbles

The title quest in this season's Nigeria Premier League (NPL) will be determined on the final day after contenders, Lobi Stars and Kano Pillars won their games on Wednesday.

In Katsina-Ala, Lobi Stars started off well with the impressive Tony Okpotu scoring inside seven minutes against fellow title contenders, Enugu Rangers.

Jonah Abutu made it two from the spot on 19 minutes after Okpotu was fouled inside the box.

At half time, Akwa United and the third title contenders, Kano Pillars were on a stalemate leaving Lobi top of the NPL standings with a point lead.

Ten minutes inside the restart, attacking midfielder Nasiru Ali scored to take Kano Pillars top with a point over Lobi Stars.

But the drama was not over in Katsina-Ala as Rangers capitulated. Okpotu, who proved a handful for the Flying Antelopes all afternoon, got his second and Lobi's third just six minutes past the hour mark.

Okpotu took his league goals this term to eight.

Back in Uyo, Kano Pillars showed no signs of missing their influential midfielder, Gabriel Reuben, as they conveniently kept the score at one-nil to go top on 64 points - one above Lobi.

The win for Pillars mean they got 13 games unbeaten in league and Cup competitions this season and also keep their bragging rights of not losing to Akwa United since 2007 in the top flight.

Rangers drop to third on 61 points, as their the hoodoo of their 28-year-old title drought continue to haunt them.

Niger Tornadoes recorded the highest-scoring win on Wednesday against champions, Dolphins with a 4-0 thumping.

Lukman Mohammed got a double while Son Hingir and Nathaniel Orji completed the rout on the champions.

Tornadoes gave themselves a lifeline of survival as they are now on 48 points.

Warri Wolves had to rely on Augustine Amutu's goal on 20 minutes to take full points off 3SC, whose continental ambition came to a halt.

Also, Enyimba's dream of finishing in the top three and winning a berth into the 2013 Caf Confederation Cup was ended by Jigawa Gold Stars, which beat them by a goal.

Wikki Tourists surprisingly defeated Sharks 3-2 in Port Harcourt to get their first win on the road while Heartland saw off Gombe United by 2-1 in Owerri.

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