By George Akpayen
Plateau United have emerged the new Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions after defeating Rangers 2-0 at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos on Saturday.
The giant Emeka Umeh and Benjamin Turba got the goals that ensured the Jos club became the 19th club to win the top division in Nigeria.
It was a befitting occasion for the new champions as they faced off with outgoing champions Rangers but still had to make sure of a first title with MFM FC breathing down their necks in second place by just a point difference.
Umeh and Kabiru Umar caused the Flying Antelopes troubles and deservedly the former opened scoring from the latter’s assist on 25 minutes.
Ranger did make attempt to fight back and one of such occasion, Charles Henlong turned inside the box and fired a shot which went off target.
Moments later, Rangers left-back Ugwu Uwadiegwu was the one rescuing his team from going two goals down when he cleared Daniel Itodo’s shot on the goalline.
However two minutes before time Plateau United put the game to bed when Turba got only his second goal of the season.
Plateau United finished the season with 66 points, four more than MFM who suffered a 1-2 defeat at El-Kanemi Warriors. Babangida Ibrahim and Yahuza Bala scored for El-Kanemi and Stanley Okorom’s goal was sandwiched in between.
Seven-time champions Enyimba finished third spot after a 1-0 success over Katsina United. Stephen Chukwude scored off a Stanley Dimgba’s assist.
Akwa United ended up in fourth place and missed out on a place in the CAF Confederation Cup despite a 3-0 bashing of Kano Pillars. Musa Newman, Christian Pyagbara and Michael Ibeh scored the goals.
Rivers United shipped in four goals at Abia Warriors after going a goal up through Guy Keumian. Ndifreke Effiong scored twice, Stanley Nwuju and Moses Onduemeke completed the rout.
Seun Sogbeso scored twice, both from the spot as Nasarawa United defeated ABS FC 2-1. Samuel Oyedeji’s goal from the spot proved insufficient for ABS who got relegated.
Shooting Stars failed to avoid defeat on the final day of the NPFL. The Oluyole Warriors suffered a two-nil loss at Niger Tornadoes. Ibrahim Babawo and Odeyemi did the damage on 3SC.
Anthony Okpotu finished the season as NPFL top scorer. He scored for Lobi Stars in their 1-1 draw at FC Ifeanyiubah and then got sent off for an elbow offence. Samuel Ayorinde equalized for FC Ifeanyiubah.
Sunshine Stars secured their place in the division with a 1-0 win after a second half goal from Sikiru Alimi while the Gombe United versus Wikki game was abandoned after the latter took the lead through a Chigozie Maurice own goal.