NPFL week 31: Enyimba, Lobi, Remo falter – Rangers still top

NPFL week 31: Enyimba, Lobi, Remo falter – Rangers still top
Photo by Icon sport

The race for the league title continues to heat up, with NPFL week 31 matches failing to provide a clear sign of where the title would go.

After ten gruelling matches, the gap between the title contenders remains slim, telling an ominous tale – the race for the league will go to the wire.

There were no inspiring results, as things remained the way they were at the top and bottom of the log. 

The title contenders had a weekend to forget, with only one of the top six teams being able to secure a win in the NPFL week 31 games.

With seven games to go to the end of the season, there are promises of excitement.

NPFL Week 31: Title contenders falter

NPFL week 31: Enugu Rangers and Lobi Stars falter
Credit @Rangers_Intl X

In the NPFL week 31 games, all eyes were on the title contenders, Enugu Rangers, Enyimba, Lobi Stars and Remo Stars.

All four teams did their title chances little good, as they all failed to secure maximum points in their games.

Enugu Rangers travelled to Port Harcourt, and as we predicted, they crumbled at the feet of Rivers United. The Flying Antelopes continued their poor record in Port Harcourt as they fell 2-0 to their hosts.

The Coal City lads have only managed a point in their last seven games in Port Harcourt.

Alex Oyowah scored the opener in the 34th minute, while Deputy Echeta confirmed the win with an 82nd-minute effort.

Despite the loss, Enugu Rangers remained top of the log thanks to results from other centres.

The last time Enyimba lost to Sunshine Stars was in 2019. The People's Elephant continued their good Akure form by securing a point.

A 1-1 draw that saw Chidiebere Nnachi (71) cancel out a 46th-minute effort by Promise Awosanmi ensured that Enyimba is still within touching distance of the league leaders.

While Enyimba can see their result as positive, Lobi Stars will rue their luck in their NPFL week 31 game against Bendel Insurance.

The Benin Arsenal were resolute in a tight game that saw Lobi Stars failing to score a goal.

The draw did little to improve the fortunes of Bendel Insurance, but it was a massive dampener for Lobi Stars, who could have tied with Enugu Rangers on points if they had won.

The worst hit in the race for the title in the NPFL week 31 games was Remo Stars. The Sky Blues were hit with a sucker punch by Plateau United, who leapfrogged them to move into third after a 1-0 win.

Anthony Sunday scored in the 70th minute to give the Jos lads a massive three points and push them to within four points of Enugu Rangers.

Intense battle at the bottom of the table

NPFL week 31: kwara united with massive win
Credit @KwaraUnitedFC Twitter

While Gombe United seems almost confined to relegation (their fate should be sealed in a couple of weeks), they fail heavily on the road to Kano Pillars.

Sai Masu Gida has had a topsy-turvy form since the turn of the year but was in imperial form as they routed the Savannah Scorpions 4-0.

A brace each by Umar Mustapha (9, 77) and ageless Rabiu Ali (30, 46) ensured they were back in the mix for a continental ticket.

Heartland did their chances of groping their way out of relegation with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Shooting Stars.

Divine Ukadike scored in the 24th minute, and the Naze Millionaires held on for a hard-fought win. Despite the win, Heartland remains 19th on the log and is still some distance from redemption. 

Sporting Lagos are two points ahead of 17th-place Bayelsa United. They are also staring at relegation.

They took on Katsina United in what was Abdullahi Biffo's first game in charge following the sacking of Paul Offor.

The former Kwara United gaffer could do nothing to stop the Lagos side from receiving a thumping at the hands of the Chanji Boys.

Two goals from Andrew Idoko and Michael Ibe gave Katsina United all three points.

While Abdullahi Biffo was receiving a baptism of fire in Katsina, his former side, Kwara United, gave their fans something to cheer.

They beat relegation-threatened Akwa United 1-0. However, they left it late to secure maximum points.

Emmanuel Agbole scored deep into added time to receive a little respite in their fight against the drop.

In the ten NPFL week 31 games, there were eight home wins and two draws. Rangers remain top, Enyimba is second, while Lobi Stars and Plateau United make up the top four, with two points separating the league leaders and their closest rivals.

NPFL Week 31 Results

NPFL Week 31 results

Kano Pillars 4-0 Gombe United
Katsina United 2-0 Sporting Lagos
Kwara United 1-0 Akwa United
Lobi Stars 0-0 Bendel Insurance
Niger Tornadoes 2-0 Doma United
Plateau United 1-0 Remo Stars
Rivers United 2-0 Enugu Rangers
Sunshine Stars 1-1 Enyimba
Abia Warriors 1-0 Bayelsa United
Heartland Owerri 1-0 Shooting Stars

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter. Chooka has a passion for football and has been a fan of Enugu Rangers (over 30 years) and Real Madrid (Since 1996).