Even without the Super Eagles captain, Sai Masu Gida brightened their title ambitions with a hard-earned home win over Fatai Osho’s men
Ahmed Musa’s Kano Pillars have surpassed Akwa United as leaders of the Nigeria Professional Football League thanks to Sunday’s 2-1 win over Enyimba.
Although the Aba Elephants took an early lead through Victor Mbaoma, the hosts secured a comeback victory thanks to second-half strikes from Rabiu Ali and Ifeanyi Eze.
In dire need of a victory to brighten their title hopes, both teams went to the Sani Abacha Stadium with the ambition of picking up a positive result.
However, it was Fatai Osho’s men who drew the first blood through striker Mbaoma in the eighth minute.
Profiting from a beautiful cross from Bilal Yakubu, the former Remo Stars skipper headed past a stranded goalkeeper Suraj Ayeleso.
Despite pouring attacks from Pillars, they were unable to get the equaliser as the two-time African kings went into the half-time break with a slim lead.
Knowing that anything short of victory would spell doom for their chase for a fifth Nigerian top-flight diadem, Sai Masu Gida put up an impressive second-half display.
Their persistence paid off in the 52nd minute as they were awarded a penalty which captain Ali expertly sent past goalkeeper Olufemi Kayode.
With that, the 40-year-old became the first player to find the net on ten occasions in the 2020-21 NPFL campaign. Incidentally, six of them have come from the penalty mark.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Ibrahim Musa’s men had the last laugh as super-sub Ifeanyi Eze netted the winner.
Ali sent a fine pass to Nwagua Nyima who controlled the ball before teeing up Eze for a cool finish.
Despite their late attacking forays, Enyimba were unable to rescue the situation as they crumbled to their sixth defeat of the current campaign.
Thanks to this result, Kano Pillars assumed the leadership position after closest challengers, Akwa United, could only grind out a 2-2 draw at relegation-threatened Wikki Tourist.
NPFL RESULTS AT A GLANCE
Abia Warriors 1 – 1 FC Ifeanyi Ubah
Adamawa United 0 – 2 Plateau United
Dakkada FC 0 – 1 Lobi Stars
Enugu Rangers 1 – 1 MFM FC
Heartland Owerri 2 – 2 Rivers United
Kano Pillars 2 – 1 Enyimba
Katsina United 2 – 1 Nasarawa United
Kwara United 3 – 0 Jigawa Golden Stars
Warri Wolves FC 2 – 1 Sunshine Stars
Wikki Tourist 2 – 2 Akwa United