By Adeboye Amosu:
Photos by Ganiyu Yusuf:
Enugu Rangers ended their 32-year wait for a league title following a comprehensive 4-0 win against El-Kanemi Warriors in their Nigeria Professional Football League matchday 38 fixture at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium, Enugu on Sunday, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
It was the Coal City side’s seventh NPFL title and it brough them level with Oriental rivals Enyimba.
The Flying Antelopes went into the final day of the 2015/2016 season needing just a point to be crowned champions but were in devastating mood as they completely pulverized their opponent who had already secured their top flight status and had nothing but pride to play for in the match.
Chisom Egbuchulam scored a hat-trick in the encounter, increasing his goal haul for the season to 16, and finished as the league second top scorer behind Wikki Tourists’ Joshua Obaje who netted 18 times.
Osas Okoro scored the other goal for Imama Amapakabo’s men.
At the Godswil Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Rivers United missed out on usurping Rangers on top of the table but can take consolation from finishing second and picking the second CAF Champions League ticket after they beat Akwa United 2-1.
Frederick Obomate and Guy Kuemian got the goals for the visitors, while Fortune Omoniwari scored Akwa United only goal.
There was also joy for Wikki Tourists who beat Sunshine Stars 2-0 at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi to finish third in the table and also secure a berth in the CAF Confederation Cup.
The hosts went ahead through Chukwudi Samuel on nine minutes.
Mubarak Umar made victory certain for his side when he netted the second two minutes before the half hour mark.
Abia Warriors maintained their top flight status following a hard-fought 2-1 home win against Shooting Stars in Umuahia.
They went ahead in the 17th minute when Stanley Okoro finished a superb team move.
Nojeem Olukokun scored the leveller for 3SC in the 64th minute, while Ndifreke Effiong scored the winner for the home team seven minutes from time.
At the Agege Stadium, MFM also beat the drop after they edged out FC IfeanyiUbah 1-0.
Stanley Okorom headed in the winner in the 23rd minute of the tense encounter.
The home side were reduced to 10 men after Ifeanyi Ifeanyi was sent off in the 33rd minute, prompting heavy protest from the players and their fans.
The visitors missed the chance to get back into the game when Cameroonian midfielder, Tamen Medrano, missed a penalty in the 72nd minute.
They also had a man sent off two minutes later when Kojo Baah was issued a red card by the centre referee.
In Jos, Heartland were relegated for the first time after they were held to a 1-1 draw by home side, Plateau United.
Roland Koffi put the Naze Millionaires ahead three minutes before the break.
Bright Silas levelled scores for the hosts three minutes after the restart.
Warri Wolves were also relegated to the Nigeria National League despite beating Ikorodu United 1-0 at the Warri City Stadium.
It was a remarkable decline for a side that finished in the second position last season.
Sikiru Alimi scored the winner for the Seasiders from the spot in the 36th minute.
Former champions Kano Pillars played a 1-1 draw with Niger Tornadoes at the Sani Abacha Stadium.
Adamu Mohammed gave the Sai Masu Gida the lead in the 23rd minute. Ifeanyi Okoye brought the visitors levelled 15 minutes from time.
Lobi Stars finished the season on a high, edging out Nasarawa United 2-0 with Sunday Alimi and Yaya Soumaila scoring the goals
MATCHDAY 38 FIXTURES
Enugu Rangers 4 V 0 El-Kanemi Warriors
Wikki Tourists 2 V 0 Sunshine Stars
Kano Pillars 1 V 1 Niger Tornadoes
MFM FC 1 V 0 FC IfeanyiUbah
Akwa United 1 V 2 Rivers United
Abia Warriors 2 V 1 Shooting Stars
Lobi Stars 2 V 0 Nasarawa United
Warri Wolves 1 V 0 Ikorodu United
Plateau United 1 V 1 Heartland