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Rangers, Enyimba win ‘Oriental derbies’ as Akwa whip Tornadoes 4-1

Enugu Rangers yesterday consolidated on their leadership of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) with a hard-fought 3-2 win over neighbours Abia Warriors just as…

Enugu Rangers yesterday consolidated on their leadership of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) with a hard-fought 3-2 win over neighbours Abia Warriors just as title holders Enyimba won 1-0 in the other week 30 ‘Oriental derby’ against relegation-threatened Heartland FC to close the gap on the table toppers.

Abia Warriors suffered an early setback in Enugu when Isaac Saviour gave the hosts the lead in the 7th minute but Adejoh Ogunungwa drew Warriors level in the second minute of first-half added time.

On resumption, Kazwem Ogunleye restored Rangers’ lead in the 48th minute and bagged his second in the 63rd minute before Paschal Nwabueze reduced the deficit for Warriors in the second minute of added time.

With 54 points, Rangers have opened a three-point gap on their closest rivals Enyimba who have 51 points following their 1-0 victory over Heartland in Aba.

In Uyo, Akwa United’s relegation fight received a big boost after they hammered Tornadoes 4-1 win. Ubong Friday was the hero as he hit the only hat-trick of the day in the victory that lifted Akwa United to 34 points.

At the Pantami Stadium, relegation-bound Gombe United suffered another home defeat after they fell 1-2 to Kwara United.

Sad’eeq Yusuf Ahmat scored the opening goal for the visitors in the 36th minute, David Nnaji equalised in the 74th minute but Sad’eeq grabbed his brace eight minutes from regulation time for the away win.

In Port-Harcourt, Plateau United lost more ground in the title race as they suffered a 3-1 loss to Rivers United. Alex Oyowah, Echeta Deputy and Ekerette Udom scored a goal each for Rivers while Bernard Mundi scored Plateau United’s consolation goal.

Elsewhere, former champions Kano Pillars suffered back-to-back losses after they surrendered their early lead to lose 1-2 to Bendel Insurance in Benin City.

Katsina United forced Bayelsa United to a 1-1 draw in Yenagoa after Andrew Idoko scored from the spot in the 31st minute to cancel Garanda Tekena’s 23rd opener, Sporting Lagos edged Sunshine Stars 1-0 in Lagos while 3SC shot down Lobi Stars 2-0 in Ibadan to climb to fourth on the table with 49 points, two less than Lobi Stars who drop to third from second position.  

Doma United will host Remo Stars today in the remaining match of week 30 fixtures.