NPFL: Rangers secure playoff spot; Tornadoes, Warriors win

NPFL: Rangers secure playoff spot; Tornadoes, Warriors win

2018 AITEO Cup champions Rangers International on Wednesday secured a spot in the season-ending Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) playoff with a hard fought 1-0 win over Bendel Insurance while Abia Warriors and Niger Tornadoes continued their fight against relegation with wins over playoff chasing sides.

Runaway leaders in Group A, Rangers were made to sweat by relegation battlers Insurance until winger Felix Ogbuke delivered the Flying Antelopes for the second home game in a row with an 85th minute winner to break the resistance of Monday Odigie-led Insurance.

Wednesday’s win took the points tally of Gbenga Ogunbote’s Rangers to 37 points, meaning that fourth placed side MFM FC cannot catch them with just two matches left in the regular season. The loss meanwhile leaves Insurance hovering above the red zone but they will slip down should Wikki Tourists beat Kwara United on Thursday.

In Minna, Niger Tornadoes continued their late rally to avoid the drop with a 1-0 win over MFM at the Bako Kontagora Stadium. Midfielder Ismaila Sarki scored within the opening 120 seconds to condemn Fidelis Ilechukwu’s MFM to another defeat on the road which leaves them in 4th spot.

In Umuahia, Abia Warriors made it three wins in a row after a last gasp penalty by Samson Obi gave them a come-from-behind 2-1 win over El-Kanemi in a battle of the Warriors.

El-Kanemi took the lead in the 2nd minute through Mohammed Suleiman but the hosts levelled six minutes before the break courtesy of a strike by in-form Tunde Abdulsalami Atinsola before Obi wrapped up the win for Emmanuel Deutsch’s Abia Warriors with a 96th minute penalty.

The win lifts Abia Warriors out of the relegation zone for the first time in seven weeks while El-Kanemi’s season ending woes continued having now failed to win any of their last five matches, a run which looks to have jeopardised their Top 3 ambitions.

Nine other games in the NPFL Match Day 20 programme will hold on Thursday with the clash between Rivers United and Lobi Stars in Port Harcourt on the front burner.

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