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SPORTS UPDATE

NPFL Round-up: Remo Stars punch continental ticket as Pillars, Heartland, MFM, Katsina are relegated

The last games of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) 2021/22 season were played on Sunday with the confirmation of the four teams to be relegated.

This concluded an intensive seven-month action-packed season-the shortest in NPFL history.

The 10 games played on Sunday, July 17, produced 20 goals with nine home victories and an away win.

Rivers United ended the league as champions with 77 points. They became the club with the highest total of points in an NPFL season as they defeated Gombe United by a lone goal.

Chijioke Akuneto scored from the spot for the Port Harcourt landlords in the 11th minute. Akuneto ended the season with 19 goals.

In Ikenne, Remo Stars sealed their third position and a continental slot with a three-nil win over Tornadoes. This will be the first time in the club’s history they would qualify for the continent.

Andy Okpe’s hat-trick sealed the club’s highest points secured in an NPFL season.

Just like in Port Harcourt, it was a party galore at the Ikenne stadium, where Remo Stars’ fans trooped in en masse to celebrate the impressive feat Gbenga Ogunbote and his boys achieved in their debut season.

Remo Stars broke the deadlock from the spot through Andy Okpe in the 30th minute after Stanley Okorom committed an infringement.
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The first half had a few lost chances on both sides with thrilling support from the fans.

Remo Stars into the second half doubled the lead with Andy Okpe’s header from a Seun Ogunribide cross.

Okpe completed his hat-trick in the 75th minute.
Away Win

MFM ended their miserable campaign on a sour note after a 1-0 home loss to Nasarawa United. Although they had already confirmed their relegation, they couldn’t hold on to their pride as Chinedu Ohanachom’s 32nd-minute strike sent the Lagos-based side to the lower division for the next season.
Escapees

Shooting Stars had a moment to seek restitution after they escaped relegation based on goal difference.

Although they lost to relegated Kano Pillars 2-1 at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Katsina United, who lost 2-0 to Wikki Tourists, faced the axe of relegation.

Godspower Aniefiok scored in the first half while Rabiu Ali scored for the relegated Pillars from the spot.

Also, Dakkada escaped relegation after a 3-0 victory over Sunshine Stars. A brace from Edidiong Ezekiel and Aniekan Okon scored to help the Uyo-based side to see NPFL action next season.

Lobi Stars and Abia Warriors also escaped relegation after Katsina United failed to hold Wikki Tourists.

Abia Warriors defeated Lobi Stars 3-0 with Godwin Obaje, Valentine Odoh and an own goal from Francis Odinaka saved Imama Amapakabo’s side.
Relegated

After over two decades in the league, Kano Pillars kissed the top flight league bye-bye with 45 points above MFM.

Although they defeated Shooting Stars it wasn’t enough as the LMC has earlier slammed the Sai Masu Gida with a three-point deduction that confirmed their relegation.

Heartland said bye-bye to the NPFL with a 1-0 win over Kwara United in Okigwe.

Kabiru Dogo’s side walloped Katsina United 2-0 to send the Northern side packing from the league. Fuad Ekeleojuoti and Ibrahim Sale scored the goals that condemned Katsina United.
Results

Heartland 1-0 Kwara United

Remo Stars 3-0 Niger Tornadoes

Dakkada 3-0 Sunshine Stars

Plateau United 1-0 Enyimba

Wikki Tourists 2-0 Katsina United

Abia Warriors 3-0 Lobi Stars

Rangers 2-0 Akwa United

Rivers United 1-0 Gombe United

Kano Pillars 2-1 3SC

MFM 0-1 Nasarawa United

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