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NPFL: Rivers United celebrate title success with victory as 3SC escape relegation

Nigeria Professional Football League champions River United signed off the campaign with a 1-0 win over Gombe United at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt today, just as Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan avoided relegation despite defeat.

Rivers United were confirmed as NPFL champions for the first time in their history three weeks ago but they were presented with their trophy today after the final-day fixture at home to Gombe United.

The Port Harcourt side were given a guard of honour by Gombe United before kick-off in front of thousands of fans who had come to witness the coronation, and they proved why they finished the campaign ahead of the 19 other teams.

The league’s top scorer Chijioke Akuneto converted an 11th minute penalty to net his 19th goal of the triumphant campaign and take Rivers United’s points total to 77 from 38 matches.

Gombe United finished in eighth place with 52 points.

In Jos, Plateau United cemented second spot with a 1-0 win over Enyimba, as the league’s most successful club finished a disappointing season with a whimper.

Mohammed Zulkifilu struck 10 minutes into the second half to give the hosts victory and keep them 10 points behind the champions, while Enyimba ended up in seventh spot with 52 points.

Remo Stars, who only regained promotion to the NPFL last season, secured third place and a ticket to the CAF Confederation Cup with a 3-0 home victory over Niger Tornadoes.

Andy Okpe bagged a hat-trick to give the Remo side the win and take their points haul to 62 points, while Tornadoes finished 12th with 51 points.

In the relegation battles, the once great 3SC lost 2-1 away to already demoted Kano Pillars, but the Oluyole Warriors escaped the drop due to other results going their way.

Katsina United lost 2-0 at Wikki Tourists to remain in 17th position and the last relegation spot, allowing 3SC to retain their NPFL status on goal difference.

Both Katsina United and 3SC finished with 48 points, but the former had a minus 8 goal difference to the latter’s minus 4.

In other final-day clashes, Abia Warriors defeated Lobi Stars 3-0, the same scoreline with which Dakkada beat Sunshine Stars in Uyo, while Rangers overcame visiting Akwa United 2-0 and relegated MFM lost 1-0 at home to Nasarawa United.

At the end of the campaign, champions River United and runners-up Plateau United claimed CAF Champions League spots, while third-placed Remo Stars will have their first continental experience in the CAF Confederation Cup.

Katsina United, Heartland, Kano Pillars and MFM finished 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th respectively, and all of them are relegated to the Nigeria National League.

NPFL FINAL-DAY 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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