By Toby Prince
The intrigues of the Nigeria Professional Football League returned on Sunday with tussle for the elite crown becoming stiffer just as the battle for survival intensifies.
Title hopefuls, Enyimba and Warri Wolves, both lost grip with losses on the road while Sharks, Bayelsa United and Taraba United further sunk into relegation waters with defeats at the weekend.
The Aba Elephants fell 2-1 to El Kanemi Warriors in Katsina after Benjamin Turba and Efe Yarhere struck before the first half-hour mark. A late consolation from Nzube Anaezemba was not enough for the visitors who still sit on the summit of the league with 55 points.
Henry Ochuba and Ifeanyi Onyeali cancelled Joseph Osadiaye’s effort to ensure second-placed Wolves suffered a shock 2-1 defeat away to Abia Warriors in Umuahia.
Wikki Tourist edged closer to second-placed Wolves after beating Bayelsa United 2-0 in Bauchi. Mubarak Umar and Nafiu Ibrahim scored in both halves to take the Bauchi side to 51 points on the log – same as Wolves who have a superior goal difference.
In Owerri, Lobi Stars caged Heartland to a barren draw and coach, Justin Tenger, is wholly happy with the outcome.
“The barren draw is worth celebrating as it did not come so cheap, it was a hard fought game for both sides,” Tenger told SuperSports after the game.
Dolphins breathed some life into their relegation fight with a comfortable 3-1 mauling of fellow strugglers, Taraba United.
Charles Okoro scored as Giwa FC piped strugglers Sharks 1-0 in Jos, while FC Ifeanyi Ubah and champions, Kano Pillars, drew 1-1 in Nnewi.
At the Lafia Township Stadium, top scorer Esosa Igbinoba scored his 14th goal of the season as Nasarawa United were 1-0 victors over visiting Rangers.
In the last game of match-day 30, Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) overpowered 2015 Federation Cup finalist, Akwa United, 1-0 in Ibadan.