Rivers United showed their resolve to win the 2021/22 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season by defeating Plateau United 2-0 on Wednesday at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.
Rivers avenged their 1-0 loss in the reverse fixture to increase their lead on the table to ten points after accumulating 67 points from 32 games played thus far.
The first goal of the game came in the 33rd minute when Chijioke Akuneto scored from the penalty spot to mark his 13th goal of the season as the first half ended 1-0 for Coach Stanley Eguma’s team, who had not lost at halftime in their previous 22 home encounters.
At the start of the second half, both teams tried efforts to score, but the hosts were able to earn the second and crucial goal when Akuneto reacted fastest to slot home from a goal mouth scramble to score his 14th goal of the season.
Plateau United’s defeat has left a sour taste in their mouths, as they had intended to trim the gap to four points with seven games remaining.
Rivers Utd have now occupied the top spot 22 times this season, compared to once by Plateau Utd. Rivers Utd’s dominance includes staying at the summit 17 consecutive times from Matchday 14 to 30.
In other games, Enyimba’s chances of competing in continental tournaments were boosted after defeating visiting Sunshine Stars 2-0 in Aba.
Enyimba did a double over Sunshine Stars, led by assistant coach Ortega Deniran, with goals from Emeka Obioma and Samuel Stone condemned the visitors to their 11th league loss.
Lobi Stars won 3-1 against Kwara United, keeping the ‘Ortom Boys’ clear of the relegation zone. Chinonso Okonkwo scored for the hosts in the 21st minute, before Samuel Tiza equalized in the 42nd.
Lobi Stars scored two goals in five minutes after realizing that anything less than a win would be enough to keep them in the top division.
Enugu Rangers defeated Wikki Tourists 2-1 at the Cathedral to maintain their third-place position, while MFM’s chances of surviving in the NPFL were dashed as they drew 0-0 with Akwa United.
Heartland FC dropped further into the relegation zone after losing 3-2 to Gombe United, while Remo Stars’ continental hopes were dashed after a goalless draw with Shooting Stars of Ibadan in a South West derby.
Similarly, Abia Warriors’ relationship with the relegation zone deepened after they lost 2-1 to Nasarawa United, while Niger Tornadoes lost again, falling 2-0 to Katsina United, who slipped out of the relegation zone.
Meanwhile, the final match of Match Day 31 will be contested on June 15th between Dakkada FC and Kano Pillars, according to the fixtures provided.