It was a very disappointing day for Kano Pillars in the NPFL19Playoffs after they dropped two points, watched their fans lay mayhem at the Soccer Temple and lost their place at the top to Enyimba on Monday. www.aclsports.com reports from Agege Stadium
On a wet day at the Soccer Temple in Agege, a controversial late penalty from Rangers International denied Pillars all three points following a 1-1 draw in the first match of NPFLPlayoffs MD4.
A beautifully taken Rabiu Ali free kick just before the hour mark seemed to have taken the Kano side to within a touching distance of the NPFL19 title but for a Godwin Aguda late penalty to snatch away from them.
However, things took a dramatic and violent turn following the penalty decision and Rangers’ subsequent equaliser as fans of Pillars began to one of the assistant referees by throwing dangerous weapons at him.
The play was halted for over five minutes and when it was restarted, Pillars piled on the pressure in search of the winner, but it didn’t come.
Immediately centre referee, Adebimpe Quadri, signalled for full time, Pillars captain, Ali, attacked the young official and despite the efforts of his teammates stop him, the veteran was uncontrollable thereby inciting the very rambunctious Kano fans, who took the the pitch in their numbers in an attempt to hunt Quadri, who did well to escape on time.
This went on for over half an hour, as the irate fans took out their anger on those at the VIP box, with all manner of objects hauled at them.
Ali, his teammates and Pillars coaching crew all returned to later to appeal to the visibly angry fans before play the remaining two matches were played.
In the second game of the day, an uninspiring display saw Lobi Stars and Akwa United share the spoils following a 0-0 draw.
Neither sides looked like scoring in the game, and failed to take advantage of the slip up from Pillars and Rangers.
Bala, Bashir lift Enyimba to the top
The duo of Reuben Bala and Abdulrahman Bashir inspired Enyimba to the top of the Super Six after a brilliant performance earned them a 3-1 win over Ifeanyi Ubah football club.
Bala netted a first half brace while Bashir scored more and assisted another as the People’s Elephant have now put themselves in good position to claim the title.
Bala put the Aba side in front with a beautifully worked goal after rounding the goalkeeper, but FCIU struck back with a beauty of their own, an excellent James Promise free kick handed them the equaliser.
However, Enyimba will restore their lead before the break when that man again, Bala, was on hand to give them a 2-1 advantage heading into the break.
Nine minutes after the break, Bashir sealed the win when he doubled Enyimba’s advantage to make it 3-1.
It stayed that way with Enyimba leapfrogging Pillars to the top on nine points, just one ahead of the Kano-based team.
For FCIU, despite their wonderful play, they remain the only side yet to record a point in the NPFL19Playoffs.