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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Rivers United clinch first ever NPFL title despite Sunday defeat

Rivers United are the champions of Nigeria’s NPFL despite a 2-1 defeat on Sunday to Nasarawa United. The club based in Port Harcourt had the title wrapped up after Saturday’s result between Akwa United and Plateau United saw second place Plateau lose 2-1. With a ten-point deficit and only three games left to play, Plateau were mathematically eliminated from the race for first place.

With no worries about any team catching them the Rivers side could be forgiven for losing their focus a bit against Nasarawa. The hosts got off to an excellent start at home in the Lafia Township Stadium by taking the lead in the 5th minute when Sunday Okereke got behind the Rivers defense and tucked his finish in past goalkeeper Darlington Ovunda. Sikiru Olatunbosun leveled the match in the 80th minute for Rivers but a late penalty kick conversion by Nasarawa’s Tochukwu Udeh clinched victory for the mid-table side.

Akwa United were glad to play the role of spoiler against Plateau considering a disappointing season for the defending champions that included a 3-0 defeat at Plateau the last time they met. David Onovo got the hosts off to an excellent start by finishing in the 10th minute following an Adam Yakubu through ball before Plateau leveled soon after halftime through Jesse Akila. Substitute Leo Ezekiel would ensure Akwa came out with three points when he turned in Naibe Akpesiri’s low cross in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time.

The full results from the weekend in the NPFL are below followed by highlights from Akwa United and Nasarawa United’s wins.

Round 35 Results

Saturday June 25

Akwa United 2-1 Plateau United

Niger Tornadoes 4-0 Kwara United

Sunday June 26

Sunshine Stars 2-1 MFM FC

Enyimba 0-0 Heartland FC

Katsina United 3-2 Remo Stars

Lobi Stars 1-0 Dakkada FC

Gombe United 2-1 Wikki Tourists

Shooting Stars 2-2 Abia Warriors

Kano Pillars 1-0 Enugu Rangers

Nasarawa United 2-1 Rivers United

Nasarawa United 2-1 Rivers United

Akwa United 2-1 Plateau United