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Dramatic win revives Tornadoes' title-challenge

GuySuffo/BackpagePix

Bashir Usman's late goal secured a dramatic 2-1 away win for Niger Tornadoes against FC Ifeanyi Ubah for a first victory in three games as they got their title challenge back on track.

A game which appeared to be headed for a goalless draw suddenly sparked into life in the final 18 minutes, with Mubarak Ejiogu giving Tornadoes the lead.

Godwin Obaje equalised from the spot in the 90th-minute after goalkeeper Terkaa Melai was adjudged to have fouled the forward, but Usman applied the killer blow with virtually the last kick of the match, securing Tornadoes' second away win of the season.

Anthony Okpotu was the match-winner for leaders Lobi Stars on match-day 22, with the striker claiming maximum points for the Ortom Boys from a free-kick on 64 minutes in a 1-0 home victory against Enugu Rangers.

The win extends Lobi's fairytale campaign at the top as they pull four points clear of the chasing pack, with a match in hand no less.

A seventh away draw of the season helped seal a barren road result for Kano Pillars against Nasarawa United in Lafia. Nyima Nwagua missed a golden opportunity to grab the headlines and step up in the absence of strike partner Junior Lokosa, fluffing his lines in a one-on-one situation with Suraj Ayeleso.

Pillars managed to hold out for a point which keeps them in second place and level with Plateau United on 36 points, while Nasarawa are level on points with Go Round FC, who occupy the last relegation spot.

Crisis-ridden MFM FC, who are in freefall with the depletion of their squad and poor results, were beaten 3-1 by lowly Kwara United, a fifth loss in six games which keeps the Olukoya Boys just above the dropzone. Goals from Segun Alebiosu, Stephen Alfred and Sunday Odudu rendered Sikiru Olatunbosun's 26th-minute goal a mere consolation, as Kwara aided their survival prospects with a sixth win of the season to end the day 18th on the log.

Osita Chikere's 16th-minute header secured a 1-0 home win for Rivers United against Plateau United. The game saw both teams finish with 10 men following the sending off of Chigozie Ihunda and Emma James for an altercation in the first-half added-time, only minutes after the latter had been subbed in for the champions.

In other fixtures, Wikki Tourists were 3-1 home winners against Yobe Desert Stars thanks to strikes from Nasiru Jimoh, Ocheme Edoh and Elijah Ani. Uche Agba, who had missed from the spot minutes earlier, pulled a goal back for Yobe on the dot of regulation time as both teams are neck-to-neck in the survival battle.

And Tasiu Lawal's 61st-minute effort secured Katsina United a 1-0 home victory against Sunshine Stars, who are one place off the bottom. The win, a 10th on home turf, takes Katsina to 33 points, and just a spot outside the top four.