2013 Federation Cup winners, Enyimba, saw their league title aspirations fizzle out away after a 2-0 loss on Wednesday to Sunshine Stars in Akure.
Enyimba’s loss means the Glo Premier League title race is now a three-horse race with Pillars, holding on to a successful defense; Bayelsa United, looking to stage a second victory in as many years; while El-Kanemi, who were 1-0 winners over Lobi, in to crown their return to the top flight with a silverware.
The ‘People’s Elephant’ were optimistic going into the Week 37 fixture but a Philip Auta’s goal from the penalty spot, after Chinedu Udoji handled the ball inside the goal area a minute to the interval opened up their lapses.
Ebenezer Odunlami, who has been named in the 28-man list for Oman, secured the ‘Akure Gunners’s’ division one league status with a second goal, heading home a powerful goal from Ofem Inah’s well-taken free-kick.
Sunshine Stars were the better of both sides from kick-off to final whistle and Enyimba were reduced to ten men when defender Markson Ojobo was sent off in the 59th minute for allegedly uttering a foul language at the referee.
Enyimba remains on 59 points with just one match to spare, four points behind leaders Kano Pillars.
Kano Pillars were 1-0 winners over Dolphins at the Confluence Stadium, Lokoja, Gambo Mohammed scored the only goal for the defending champions, who are a match away from defending the title they won in 2012.
The ‘Sai Maitsugida’ remains top of the league standing with 63 points from 37 matches, 2 points ahead of Bayelsa United, after the Yenagoa club sealed a hard-fought 2-1 win against Kwara United
Nigeria U-20 star Shehu Abdullahi was man of the match, while each Pillars player was rewarded with N100, 000 as bonus.
Samuel Akinbinu’s brace helped relegated 3SC secure a 2-0 win over Warri Wolves. The ‘Afonja Warriors’ dominated the first-half and Wolves upped their tempo after the interval, even scoring a disallowed goal through Lazarus Chukwu Lazarus.
Relegation threatened ABS FC trounced fellow strugglers Nembe City 6-1 to record the most emphatic victory of the season.
Kadiri Aminu scored in the 5th and 66th minutes and the Ilorin club’s leading scorer Rahman Bashir also hit the target in the 48th and 56th minutes. Thomas Zenke and Ibrahim Abdullahi scored a goal each in the 53rd and 75th minute respectively.
Frank Adbakwara grabbed Nembe City’s consolation ten minutes to the dead.
Mfon Udoh scored twice (37th and 63rd minute) as Akwa United recorded a 3-2 victory over Kaduna United. Ini Akpan grabbed Akwa United’s third. Hassan Abubakar leveled for Kaduna United on 25 minutes, while Tijani Adamu reduced the deficit five minutes to full time.
Week 37 Results.
Heartland 2 Rangers 1
Sharks 3 Nasarawa 1
Sunshine 2 Enyimba 0
ABS 6 Nembe 1
3SC 2 Wolves 0
Akwa 3 Kaduna 2
Bayelsa 2 Kwara 1
Wikki 2 Gombe 0
Pillars 1 Dolphins 0
Elkanemi 1 Lobi 0