Katsina United overpowered temporary league leaders, Rangers International 2-0 to bounce back to winning ways after a run of four games winless streak.
Rasheed Ahmed opened scoring on 14 minutes with a low strike as he swept in a shot mishandled by Goalkeeper Seidu Mutawakilu, while Atule Joseph converted from the penalty spot with seven minutes left to ensure maximum points for the hosts.
The attack leading to the first goal was engineered by Boubacar Massaly, whose shot was parried poorly by Mutawakilu before Rasheed finished off fine. In the second period defender Ebuka Anthony conceded a penalty when he hacked down a goal bound Rasheed Ahmed. The referee wasted no time pointing to the spot.
Katsina United started the game the more zealous side, knowing well that anything short of a win could endanger their chances of keeping a top flight status.
Coach Baldwin Bazuaye made two changes from the squad that played against Sunshine Stars in their last home game as Yusuf Mohammed started in goal, while Faisal Sani was drafted into the midfielder from left back.
Rangers International did not travel with striker Israel Abia , Uche John and Goalkeeper Nana Bonsu. The host team dominated the first stanza and lost two glaring opportunities from Chris Giwa, whose shot was redirected by Rangers wall of defense after goalkeeper Mutawakilu went down.
Abdulkareem Ahmed was unlucky not to double their lead when Mutawakilu parried out his header off a delivery by Faisal Sani. Tony Shimaga had a chance blocked by defender Habibu Yakubu in the 25th minute, the midfielder controlled with his chest at the edge before striking one time.
The second half was well contested by both teams with few chances created, though goalkeeper Mutawakilu should get the praises for his outstanding saves that kept the score line at two nil.
Katsina United has now leaped out of the relegation zone with 18 points from 16 rounds of matches and travels to Okigwe for a MatchDay 17 game with Abia Warriors.
Rangers International have dropped to 4th position from top of the table, having amassed 27 points from 16 games. They host new leaders, Nasarawa United on Monday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu.
Man Of The Match: Faisal Sani, Katsina United.