Rivers United have been crowned champions of the 2022 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season after defeating Gombe United 1-0 at the Yakubu Gowon stadium in Port-Harcourt for a whopping 77 points.
The ‘Pride of Rivers’ had emerged champions as far back as Sunday, June 25 after closest rivals Plateau United lost 2-1 at Akwa United to give the Port Harcourt side an unassailable lead with three rounds of matches still to play.
Chijioke Akuneto was once again the hero for Rivers United in yesterday’s match as he scored his 19th of the season and the only goal of the contest from the spot after he was upended inside the box by a Gombe United defender.
Rivers United and Plateau United who defeated Enyimba 1-0 in Jos to finish second with 67 points will represent Nigeria in next year’s CAF Champions League.
In Ikenne, Andy Oke’s hat-trick helped Remo Stars to a comprehensive 3-0 win over Niger Tornadoes for them to pick the available CAF Confederations Cup ticket after their closest rivals, Kwara United slipped to a 0-1 loss at Heartland who went on relegation despite the win.
Meanwhile, the duo of Lobi Stars and 3SC who had relegation worries going into the final round of matches survived the drop despite their defeats on the road.
Lobi Stars lost 3-0 to Abia Warriors in Okigwe but were left off the hook by Wikki Tourists who did them a massive favour by beating Katsina United 2-0 while 3SC also suffered a 2-1 loss at already relegated Kano Pillars but survived on goal difference.
Although the ‘Oluyole Warriors’ finished with 48 points same as Katsina United, they have inferior deficit of minus four as against Katsina United’s minus eight.
Despite the defeat at Heartland, Kwara United finished the season in fourth position with 58 points while Rangers, who edged former champions Akwa United 2-0 in Awka ended in fifth position.
In Uyo, Dakkada also survived the drop on the last day after a convincing 3-0 win over Sunshine Stars of Akure. Edidiong Ezekiel scored a brace and Aniekan Ekpe added one in the crucial win to keep Dakkada in the topflight. Elsewhere, Nasarawa United leaped from a distant 11th position to finish sixth after recording the only away win in the final round of matches.
Veteran striker, Chinedu Ohanachom’s goal in the 32nd minute handed the ‘Solid miners’ 1-0 win at already relegated MFM in Ijebu-Ode.
Katsina United and Heartland who finished in 17th and 18th positions respectively are the two clubs that have joined the already relegated Kano Pillars and MFM.