The 33rd day of the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) brought new realities this weekend for several teams in the elite division

Rivers United were in their element at home beating Abia Warriors 2-1.

A Chijioke winner Akuneto was enough for the league leaders to open a ten-point lead on Plateau United who are currently in second place.

Akuneto had helped Rivers come back strong after Abia Warriors took a surprise lead earlier in the game.

The striker’s first penalty was saved by Abia’s keeper but the referee ruled the keeper had crossed the line. He picked up his kick and converted to score his 15th league goal of the season. Akuneto got the upper hand in the 77th minute to score his 16th of the season and overtake Victor Mbaoma whose hat-trick had helped him climb up the goalscoring charts, albeit temporarily.

Enyimba earlier beat Kwara United 3-0 thanks to Mbaoma’s hat-trick. The striker had missed two games during his international assignment with the Super Eagles.

Deji Ayeni’s Akwa United also beat Remo Stars 1-0 at the Nest of Champions thanks to a 66th-minute goal from Naibe Akpesiri while Dakkada held Gombe United 2-2.

Barnabas Imenger and Ifeanyi Ogba scored for Lobi Stars against Heartland of Owerri. Heartland received two in-game referee cards and could face LMC penalties.

At Katsina’s Shehu Dikko Stadium, Destiny Ashadi and Dauda Madaki helped Katsina United defeat relegation contenders and entrenched MFMs.

A late penalty helped the Shooting Stars overcome second-placed Plateau United. Malomo Taofeek had scored the opening goal in the 8th minute before Samuel Mathias equalized the former league winner. Moses Omodumueke scored the winner from the spot in the 89th minute.

Sunshine Stars beat Niger Tornadoes while Nasarawa also beat Enugu Rangers while Kano Pillars and Wikki Tourists played a 1-1 draw.

Rivers close in on title, Enyimba dreams of continental football

Rivers United need just two more wins from their remaining five games to become league champions while Enyimba, currently level on 51 points as 3rd-placed Rangers sit 4th in the log.

Both teams are one point above Remo Stars in 5th place as the league promises an interesting end with a battle for continental third place and relegation set to go down the drain.