Junior Lokosa stars as Kano Pillars take top spot

Kano Pillars clash with Enyimba LMC Media

Junior Lokosa netted his 10th league goal of the season to fire Kano Pillars to the top of the table on Sunday, a controversial day of action across the Nigeria Professional Football League.

Lokosa's impressive breakthrough season continued as the league's form striker netted his 10th goal of the season to lead Kano Pillars to a 2-0 home victory against Go Round FC.

It was Sai Masu Gida's first win in four games, and moves them back to the top of the table, level on 20 points with Lobi Stars, and two ahead of reigning champions Plateau United, who have played two fewer games.

Lokosa had a 29th-minute penalty saved by goalkeeper Victor Obiowo, but the stopper had no answer to Alassan Ibrahim's 58th-minute spot kick to give Pillars the lead.

Salisu Mustapha assisted Lokosa for the second with five minutes remaining.

Go Round remain 19th on the log, level on points with bottom club Kwara United.

Samad Kadiri netted the match-winning strike in the 25th minute of Lobi Stars' 1-0 win over Heartland. It was his fifth goal of the campaign, and leaves the latter in 13th.

Both sides had a player dismissed, with Fuad Ekelojuoti and Ekene Olisema seeing red for two bookable offences each.

Elsewhere, Rivers United passed up a massive opportunity to climb into second on the log following a 1-1 home draw against FC Ifeanyi Ubah.

It was the privately-sponsored club's first away point of the season, while Rivers move up to fifth.

After a dour first-half, the game sparked into life in the second period with sending offs for both teams.

United's veteran goalkeeper Rotimi Sunday was given his marching order for a reckless challenge on Seka Pascal, and Onyekachi Chidume neatly tucked home the resulting penalty for the visitors.

However, Sadiq Abdulrazak ensured both sides were down to 10 when he was sent off for a second bookable offence, and Rivers, buoyed by the parity, equalised through Oche Salefu's stunning 85th-minute strike.

Gbenga Ogunbote pulled off a decent recent with Enugu Rangers upon his return to Sunshine Stars, as the Flying Antelopes earned an impressive 1-1 away draw in Akure.

Ifeanyi George put Rangers in the lead after 25 minutes, but his effort was cancelled out by Nojeem Raji two minutes before the break.

The result was a massive setback for Sunshine Stars, who failed to build on their midweek home win, as they remain haunted by relegation. They only stay out of the dropzone due to a superior goal difference in comparison to Wikki Tourists.

Austin Obaroakpo's 52nd-minute winner for Abia Warriors settled a nervy home win against bottom-club Kwara United.

It was the first game for the Warriors on their temporary home turf at the Krisdera Hotel Stadium in Omoku, and they made it count, moving into the top of the table in the process.

Defeat was Kwara United's seventh of the season, and will further fuel speculation regarding John Obuh's future at the club.

In other results, Nasarawa United moved out of the bottom four following a narrow 1-0 home win against strugglers Wikki Tourists in Lafia. Mohamed Suleiman's 48th-minute was the difference between both teams, resulting in Wikki remaining winless in four successive games and pointless on the road this season.

El-Kanemi Warriors were held to a frustrating 0-0 home draw by 10-man Niger Tornadoes in Maiduguri, a result which leaves El-Kanemi 18th on the log and coach Imama Amapakabo under increasing pressure.