Ekhigo Ehiosun netted the first hat_trick this season in the Nigeria Premier League to shoot to the top of the goals chart and propelled Warri Wolves to third spot in the standings.
Ehiosun hit target in the 15th, 63rd and 83rd minutes to take his goal haul to seven, one better than Sunshine Stars midfielder Ajani Ibrahim.
Ehiosun said he made a vow with God in church to score a hat_trick against Sharks and God answered his
The player, whose name means ‘Holy Spirit is leading me’, has set a 20_goal personal target this season as Warri Wolves aim to be champions for the first time.
An instant reward for the centre_forward is a call_up to Wednesday’s international friendly against Sierra Leone in Lagos after Everton striker Victor Anichebe could not make the trip on short notice.
Wolves now have 25 points from 14 matches.
Ehiosun, who is also set to feature for Nigeria in an invitational tournament in the US later this month, was playing only his eighth game on Sunday.
He opened his goals account at the Warri City Stadium with a superb strike from a neat interchange of passes, before he again got on the score board off a rebound. He completed his hat_trick when he went clear of the Sharks defence before smashing past the goalkeeper.
Kaduna United climbed to fifth place on the table after a hard_fought 1_0 home win over Enugu Rangers.
The match winner was substitute Ali Adamu, who capitalised on a defensive blunder to shoot past Rangers bulky goalkeeper Godwin Ayalogu.
Adamu would in the dying moments of the game lose consciousness and had to be rushed to hospital after a collision of heads with fellow striker Jude Anieke.
But for the goal, Kaduna’s play was disjointed probably in the absence of top scorer Siman Yusuf and the suspended Rabiu Baita as well as the fact that they are yet to receive their salaries for the past three months.
This was Rangers seventh away loss and they are yet to score away from the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu this season.
The ‘Flying Antelopes’ are sixth with 20 points.
Champions Enyimba are now 11th on the table courtesy of a 2_1 win away at relegation_haunted Crown FC with Atanda Sakibu grabbing a brace.
Crown are third from bottom with 11 points.
Okey Nwadike’s glancing header after 15 minutes was enough to give Heartland full marks at the expense of visiting 3SC at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri.
Heartland played with the full compliment of their ‘B’ internationals led by Chibuzor Okonkwo.
The 10,000_capacity stadium was half_filled on the return of ‘The Naze Millionaires’ after staging some home games in Aba and Calabar with the experienced Damien Ude outstanding in midfield.
In Yenagoa, Ocean Boys continued their resurgence with a 1_0 win over Kano Pillars.
They are now in 13th place having recorded 17 points on the back of a superb solo effort by Bola Lekan in the 31st minute.
Lekan rounded up two defenders before finding his mark.
Outstanding for the hosts were goalkeeper Femi Thomas, who pulled off at least three saves, and upcoming central defender Ebinipere Bengo.
Lobi Stars also eased relegation fears with a 1_0 victory over fellow strugglers Zamfara United.