By John Egbokhan
Plateau United have continued to dictate the pace in the race to win the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL title following a goalless draw with rivals Lobi Stars at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi.
Only one point separated both sides before the start of hostilities, with Lobi needing a win to go top but Plateau United took the fight to their hosts and were rewarded with a share of the spoils, in turn cementing their top status with 37 points, while Lobi have dropped to the third spot with 36 points.
In Port Harcourt, Rivers United continued their pursuit of a continental ticket with a 2-1 hard-fought victory over Kano Pillars to move into second position on the table with 36 points from 21 matches but are ahead of Lobi Stars because of superior goals scored.
Konan Ruffin N’Gouan opened the scoring for Rivers United after 22 minutes through a penalty conversion while Cletus Emotan doubled the homers lead on 88 minutes but veteran Rabiu Ali scored a late goal for Pillars three minutes into injury time as Rivers held on to claim all three points.
A week after claiming a huge 4-1 victory over Abia Warriors in the Abia derby in Okigwe, champions Enyimba lost the initiative as they were well-beaten by relegated-threatened Nasarawa United 2-0.
Chinedu Ohanachom and Dauda Maigishiri were the scorers for Nasarawa United, who despite the victory still stay rooted to the 19th spot on the 20-team table, with a paltry 22 points from 20 matches.
Despite this shock loss, Enyimba are seventh on the table with 30 points from 18 matches and should they win their three outstanding matches, which on the basis of this latest defeat is not a realistic target, their points haul will be 39 and good enough to be top of the table.
At the Sani Abacha Stadium, temporary home ground of Jigawa Golden Stars, Wikki Tourist lost 2-1 to the former, despite scoring first through Promise Damala after two minutes but the home side fought back, netting twice through Ibrahim Saleh on 54 minutes and Abdullahi Lala 67 minutes.
At the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium, Katsina United defeated Abia Warriors who are lucky to bag maximum points courtesy of Joseph Atule five minute strike.
Regardless of Abia Warriors superiority in possession and number of shots on target, they failed to find the back of the net and return to Umuahia empty-handed.
In Yola, Adamawa United defeated FC Ifeanyi Ubah 2-1, with goals coming from Jibrin Abubakar after 22 minutes, Idris Abubakar on 69 minutes while Ikenna Cooper netted for FC Ifeanyi Ubah on 67 minutes.
At the Akure Township Stadium, Sunshine Stars were held to a barren draw, with chances coming few and far in-between, while at the Agege Stadium in Lagos, MFM were unable to bridge the defensive wall of visiting Heartland, who occupy the ninth position on the table with 29 points while MFM are two spots behind them with 27 points.