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NPFL: River United, Plateau United maintain hold on top 2

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Rivers United and Plateau United consolidated the positions on top of the rest of the field at the end of Matchday 17.

A point still separated the front runners with the Pride of Rivers at the apex having picked 38 points; their triumph over Shooting Stars on Sunday evening providing them a firm grip on the top spot.

Joseph Onoja was the tormentor-in-chief of the Oluyole Warriors as his brace in the eighth and 25th minutes ensured that Rivers United claimed victory.

For Shooting Stars, the result saw them dropping one step from 12th to 11th.

Katsina United fought gallantly in Jos but eventually cracked on the dot of the regulation time when Plateau United’s Buhari Ibrahim slotted in the goal that made all the difference.

Remo Stars return to winning ways with an emphatic win over their visitors, Sunshine Stars. Goals by Seun Ogunribide in the 40th minute, and a brace by Andy Okpe (70th and 87th minutes) enabled the Sky Blue Stars to dim the Stars of Akure.

Dakkada FC’s Edidiong Ezekiel in the sixth minute and the 39th minute goal from the spot dealt heavy blows on former African champions Enyimba, who went down from seventh to eighth.

Kwara United inflicted the fourth home defeat of the season on Lagos side, MFM, whose position at the bottom of the table remained unchanged.

Former Super Eagles forward Junior Lokosa and Alao Danbani scored two quick goals for the visitors in the fifth and 10th minutes, while Elijah Akanni reduced the deficit seven minutes after.

Heartland and Rangers won their fixtures on Saturday by a lone goal; the Naze Millionaires beating Niger Tornadoes, while Rangers decided Gombe United.

Heartland have seen their season’s campaign revitalised since the arrival of Coach Erasmus Onuh whose purpose driven football is making the hitherto troubled side now the toast of Owerri fans.

Jonas Emmanuel’s 11th minute effort secured the three points and ensured a return to winning ways after their 3-1 loss to Sunshine Stars on Wednesday.

Post-match, Onuh went down memory lane with www.npfl.ng to disclose his emotional attachment to Niger Tornadoes, which gave him a breakthrough as a player in 1986. But he insisted that as a professional coach he had to banish any personal emotions to satisfy his employers at Heartland.

Onuh believed that his rescue mission was on track. He was particularly excited that the players are getting abreast of his coaching philosophy.

In the upper rung of the table, fourth placed Rangers laboured to 1-0 win over Gombe United.

In-form winger Chidiebere Nwobodo scored the game’s only goal in the 49th minute off a Chukwuebuka Okorie. It was Nwobodo’s fourth strike of the campaign and took Rangers’ points return to 28, 10 adrift of league leaders Rivers United.

All Matchday 17 results: MFM 1-2 Kwara United, Remo Stars 3-0 Sunshine Stars, Dakkada 2-0 Enyimba, Plateau United 1-0 Katsina United, Wikki Tourist 1-0 Lobi Stars, Abia Warriors 1-0 Akwa United, Rivers United 2-0 Shooting Stars, Kano Pillars 2-0 Nasarawa United. Rangers 1-0 Gombe United, Heartland 1-0 Niger Tornadoes

Additional contributions by LMC Media

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