Kwara United on Sunday defeated visiting Remo Stars 2-1 in Ilorin as the 2021/22 Nigeria Professional Football League second stanza resumed.
The hosts lost 3-0 in the reverse fixture to Remo on match-day 19 at Ikenne, but in Ilorin, they raised their game and ensured they claimed the maximum three points at stake to enhance their chase for a continental ticket.
Before the clash, Kwara United, in preparation for the second round, signed two players: Al Bahrain Sports Club striker Akinade Moses and defender Mannir Imrana from Zaria-based Golden Light FC, while highly sought after captain Christopher Nwaeze left for champions Akwa United.
Remo drew first blood when Haruna Adi opened score in the 37th minute to stun fans at the Ilorin Stadium, but Stephen Jude restored parity in the 45th minute, before Samad Kadiri grabbed the winner in the 74th minute to send the home supporters into wild jubilations.
Kwara moved to fourth place with 34 points from 20 games, the same as third-place Enugu Rangers, who boast a superior goals difference.
In the same vein, Lobi Stars who are struggling to swim out of relegation waters secured a much needed 2-0 victory over Enugu Rangers at the Aper Aku stadium Makurdi.
Experienced midfielder Raphael Ayagwa put them in front from the spot in the 68th minute before substitute Godfrey Utim fired in the second in the 89th minute following a solo run from diminutive midfielder Chukuwuka Onuwa.
In other MatchDay 20 fixtures decided yesterday, Abel James and Victor Mbaoma scored a goal each as Enyimba defeated Wikki Tourists 2-0 in Aba, Nasarawa United laboured to a 2-0 win over 3SC in their adopted home ground Jos.
Elsewhere, Kano Pillars started the second round on a losing note as they fell 0-1 at Gombe United after substitute Barnabas Daniel sent Joshua Enaholo the wrong way from the spot in the 65th minute.
In Akure, second-placed Plateau United suffered a slim 0-1 loss to Sunshine Stars after Kolade Adeniyi scored in the 78th minute to hand the ‘Akure gunners’ the maximum points.
Emmanuel Jonas was the hero in Kaduna where Niger Tornadoes struggled to beat Dakkada FC 1-0 at the Ahmadu Bello stadium. His brilliant volley in the 70th minute was enough to give the Íkon Allah’ boys victory.
In the battle of bottom of the table teams, MFM of Lagos who were the last on the table going into the week 20 fixture edged out Heartland 1-0 through Micah Ojodomo’s solitary strike in the 33rd minute.
Rivers United who secured a 1-1 draw at Akwa United on Saturday have maintained their top position with 43 points and are closely followed by Plateau United with 41 points.