The highlight of the day was undeniably the four goals thriller in Aba where Ndifreke Effiong crowned a power run-in on the Enyimba backline, twisting captain Chinedu Udoji before unleashing a shot that left goalkeeper Chijioke Ejiogu rooted to the spot for the opening goal of the rain soaked game. That was in 26th minute and Chisom Chikatara, the increasingly famous Kolanut Boy had initiated that move, winning the ball in the midfield and setting Ndifreke free the second time.
Enyimba responded with raids on the last half of the visitors with Idris Aloma, Daniel Etor and Ezekiel Bassey combining well and seeking out Christian Obiozor. After a number of near chance and saves from John Gaadi in the post for Abia Warriors, Obiozor finally got to the end of a rebound to toe-in the equalizer in added time of the first half.
The Peoples Elephant did not relent in the second half, forcing several corners and restricting Abia Warriors to frantic clearances and their probes paid off five minutes into the second half when Etor connected a powerful but easy header to another cross from the left side by Aloma. Scores of half chances for Enyimba and occasional tries by Chikatara and Ndifreke saw the game drifting to a possible Enyimba win but Michael Olaha came in as substitute and stunned the packed stands of Enyimba fateful with a late equalizer in 79th minute. Obiozor would labour to score what was thought to be the winner but was rightly ruled offside by the assistant referee. The Umuahia side thus preserved their unbeaten record with their more illustrious neighbours in three league meets.
Sunshine Stars were heading to extend their points lead at the top after Tunji Adeniji put the Akure Gunners in the lead after 64 minutes. The first half against Lobi Stars in Makurdi had ended scoreless but it was the hosts that had their profligacy in front of goal to blame for not being in front much earlier. Substitute Obioma Arinze was brilliant in combining well with another substitute, Tony Okpotu to level scores six minutes after. Sunshine retained their hold at the top with 30 points, same with Enyimba that tags along on goals difference count.
Bright Ejike scored his 9th goal of the season for Heartland on the 9th minute but it was short lived as Ibrahim Shuaibu restored parity in the 22nd minute with a sublime effort that was assisted by Edoh Ocheme from the edge of the box. Gyang Amos then grabbed the winner in the second half scoring from outside the box in 69th minute to gift all three points to his side. The win is Giwa’s 7th of the season from 16 games.
In Uyo, Akwa United finally became the first side to win a match at the not too recently commissioned stadium nicknamed Nest of Champions. The Promise Keepers netted two second half goals to end Rangers International’s four-match unbeaten run and climb farther away from relegation troubles. Defender Nnamso Edo scored first from the penalty spot on 53 minutes, sending goalkeeper Itodo Akor the wrong way while Nathaniel Kingsley consolidated on 79 minutes with the second goal.
Defending Champions, Kano Pillars managed a 1-0 win over former city neighbours, El-Kanemi Warriors with the lone strike from Adamu Mohammed assisted by Samuel Tswanya on 21 minutes. Pillars move two places to 7th position with 25 points while El-Kanemi dropped to 10th place from 8th.
Bayelsa United returned to winning ways, the first under manager Evans Ogenyi following a 2-0 defeat of Warri Wolves in what can be called a Delta Derby as Bayelsa played at their adopted city of Oghara in Delta State. Oladimeji Hazzan put the Restoration Boys ahead 58 minutes into the encounter finishing off a pass from Tonbara Tiongoli who had executed some beautiful footwork. Then substitute Kadiri Samad doubled the lead with three minutes left on the watch, pouncing on a half-hearted clearance.
Dolphins escaped a home defeat by the whiskers after Mubarak Umar put Wikki Tourists ahead on 58 minutes and the Bauchi side retained dominance and having more opportunities to increase their lead. Rescue came the Port Harcourt side’s way one minute from regulation time when Victor Ezuruike converted from the spot to earn a draw.
At the other end of Port Harcourt, Sharks continued their winless run following a nil all draw with Nasarawa United to lead the log from the rear with just 12 points from 17 games. On Saturday, FC Taraba also failed to win in 13 games after a 0-0 draw in Makurdi against Kwara United. FC Taraba stay just a spot above Sharks on the log while Kwara United dropped to 17th place, switching places with Bayelsa United in the bottom four bracket.