NPFL: Rangers secure top spot with nail-biting Oriental derby victory

17th April 2024

Enugu Rangers – Tope Olusesi

Nigeria Premier Football League leaders, Enugu Rangers, retained top spot on the log after edging Abia Warriors 3-2 in Tuesday’s match-day 30 Oriental derby at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, Punch Sports Extra reports.

The Flying Antelopes stormed to an early lead through Saviour Isaac, but the visitors responded on the stroke of halftime through Ojonugwa Adejoh.

Kareem Ogunleye and Chiedozie Okorie added two more goals for the Rangers in the second half as they prevented a late surge from the Abia Warriors, who pulled one back in stoppage time through Pascal Nwabueze.

By that result, the seven-time Nigerian champions, who have 54 points, held on to their three-point lead above champions Enyimba, who also beat relegation-threatened Heartland 1-0 in another keenly contested fixture in Aba, where Ekene Awaziem’s first-half goal made the difference for Finidi George’s side.

In the third derby of match-day 30, also played on Tuesday, Sporting Lagos took another South-West bragging rights after beating Sunshine Stars 1-0 at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos, courtesy of a ninth-minute header by Paschal Durugbor.

The visitors were, however, dominant in the second half, but they were denied the chance to equalise in the 75th minute after their penalty appeal over an alleged foul on Emmanuel Ogbuagu didn’t move the referee.

Two other fixtures on the day saw 3SC thrash Lobi Stars 2-0 at the Lekan Salami Stadium in Adamasingba, Ibadan, to move to fourth in the standings, while Rivers United humbled Plateau United 3-1 at Adokiye Amiesiamaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.

At the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, host Bendel Insurance came from a goal down to beat Kano Pillars 2-1, their first win in four matches, while Kwara United secured a 2-1 win away to basement club Gombe United.

In Uyo, Akwa United defeated the free-scoring Niger Tornadoes 4-1, but it wasn’t enough to push them out of the relegation zone as they still sit 18th in the table with 34 points after 30 games.

SOURCE:PUNCH

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