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NNL play-offs: Newcomers Sporting Lagos secure NPFL promotion, Pillars close

NEWLY formed Sporting Lagos will be featuring in the Nigeria Premier Football League next season after gaining promotion from the second-tier Nigeria National League.

The club was founded only last year and began in the second tier, and remained in the division after a decent first season.

They made it to the play-offs this season following an impressive campaign in which they won Group B 2 of the Southern Conference.

In the play-offs in Asaba, Delta State, Sporting Lagos, owned by fintech outfit Paystack co-founder Shola Akinlade, Sporting Lagos have got enough points in the Southern Conference to guarantee one of the two promotion spots.

They confirmed their place in the NPFL yesterday with a 2-0 victory over Abeokuta Stormers at the Stephen Stadium, adding it to Sunday’s 1-0 victory over FC One Rocket.

With six points from their first two games, Sporting Lisbon are on top of the four-team conference with one round of matches left.

Heartland of Owerri, who are seeking a quick return to the top flight after being relegated last season, are second with four points, while Abeokuta Stormers are third with one point and FC One Rocket are bottom with no points.

Whatever the results of tomorrow’s final round of conference fixtures, Sporting Lagos are guaranteed promotion, as the worst case scenario for them is defeat to Heartland, which would still secure the second promotion place.

Heartland would also ensure promotion with a win or draw, while the only hope for Abeokuta Stormers is a big win over FC One Rocket and a defeat for the Owerri side against Sporting Lagos.

Multiple-times NPFL champions Kano Pillars are also on the verge of a return to the top flight.

They have won their first two matches of the play-offs in the Northern Conference against EFCC and DMD Kwaya, and a draw or even a narrow defeat to Katsina United tomorrow would see Pillars leave Asaba with an NPFL ticket.

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