Giwa FC rubbed the shine off Enyimba International FC for a second successive time as Dolphins maintained their home unbeaten run against leaders Kano Pillars on resumption of the Glo Premier League on Sunday.
Giwa FC 1-0 Enyimba FC
Following the World Cup break and the brief hiatus for the Federation Cup, the Rwang Pam Stadium was abuzz with the two Elephants in the Nigeria Professional League, but the hosts proved a handful for the six-time champions, edging the contest by a solitary goal.
Ocheme Udoh’s 10th minute header from a corner made the difference as the Chris Giwa-owned team climbed up the league standings to 4th with 31 points on Match Day 20.
Enyimba’s defender Mfon Udoh lost his cool in the 56th minute and was handed his marching order for retaliation on the hosts’ defender Abdulbasit Shittu.
This fixture is a dress rehearsal for Thursday’s all-important Federation Cup semi-finals in Abeokuta, where the ‘Peoples Elephant’ will hope to end their three-game winless streak against the Jos Elephants.
Dolphins 1-0 Pillars
Champions Pillars have now failed to win in all of their five visits to the Liberation Stadium since January 2010.
On-form Emem Eduok broke the deadlock on 24 minutes to peg the runaway leaders back on the league standings and as well end their 11-match unbeaten run.
The Pyramid City club however maintained their league dominance after 20 rounds of matches with 34 points, while Dolphins climbed nine places to 7th with 30 points.
Bayelsa 1-0 Crown
At the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin, Bayelsa United pulled off danger zone in a match barren of scoring opportunities unlike the first meeting in Ibadan.
Tombara Tiongoli opener withing 10 minutes of kick-off separated both sides who trailed each other in 16th and 17th position during the World Cup break.
With just two wins in their last ten games, the ‘Ajilette Boys’ must now start looking for a fast solution to their poor outing, having recorded just 24 points out of a possible 60.
The ‘Restoration Boys’ eventually moved up to 15th with 27 points.
Taraba 1-0 Gombe
FC Taraba claimed all three-point in a closing minutes rally at the Jolly Nyame Stadium, Jalingo.
Former Super Eagles winger and manager of the host team, Tijjani Babangida, welcomed ex-national team coach Augustin Eguavoen back to the league in the Northern derby.
An end-to-end second-half halted at the mercy of some disciplined defencive display, but just one miscue at the visitors’ half cost them a solitary point after fighting all day.
Taraba forward Fidelis Saviour was brought down in the vital area, leaving FIFA badged centre referee, Amao Opeyemi, without a choice than to signal for penalty.
Saviour stepped up to convert from 12 yards and end the tactical tie in favour of the hosts.
Taraba are now ranked 14th with 28 points while Eguavoen has a huge task of pulling Gombe out of the relegation zone with his team just a place above rock-bottom on 20 points.
Rangers 2-0 El-Kanemi
Every host won their match on Match Day 20 but one team won better and that victory came at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.
Second-half strikes by Emeka Eze and Ighodalor Osagona ensured the ‘Flying Antelopes’ retained their unbeaten home run against El-Kanemi in five successive matches.
Ighodalor, who also hit target in Rangers’ first round 2-1 win in Kano in May, returned to the top of the goal-scorers’ chart after netting his 11th goal of the season.
Rangers have now recorded 27 points and occupies 13th position. El-Kanemi are 16th with just a point shy of their opponent.
Akwa 1-0 Sharks
Akwa United completed a 2013/14 season double over Sharks FC at the Uyo Township Stadium courtesy of Ini Akpan’s strike.
The fixture also marked the return of Akwa’s high-scoring defender Nnamso Edo, whose free-kick was rebounded into play allowing Akpan to jab home the incisive goal.
The hosts welcomed three new faces in Brown Brena, who started and even got the ball inside the back of the net on 32 minutes but was ruled for offside, with Ndubuisi Uche and Ibrahim Salawu who joined as substitutes earning their debuts.
Akwa are now 8th in the table with 31 points, while the ‘Blue Angels’ are two places down with 30 points.
Other Glo Premier League Match Day 20 Results
Abia Warriors 2-1 Nasarawa United
Lobi Stars 2-1 Heartland
Sunshine Stars 1-0 Nembe City
Warri Wolves 1-0 Kaduna United