Achor Abimaje, Jos
The Rwang Pam Stadium Stadium, Jos, was agog yesterday, as Plateau United was crowned champion of the 2016/2017 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions, following a 2-0 win over defending champions Rangers International.
The game, which had left many guessing if the hosts would keep their nerves to claim a first, historical title, got off to a flying start, with both sides making smart incursions and tryng to make the most of dead-ball situations.
But it was the hosts who went ahead in the 32nd minute, when Kabiru Umar found Emeka Umeh, who, in turn, rifled home to put the hosts 1-0 up.
As hostilities resumed in the second-half, Bright Silas nearly put the defending champions at par with their entreprising foes, but Oghene Elijah made a goal-line clearance.
A few minutes later, the hosts went in for the kill, but it was not to be, as Ugwu Uwadiegwu made a goal-line clearance to get the already jubilating fans back in their seats.
It was the hosts who came knocking again in the latter stages of the second half, through Benjamin Turba, who did not disappoint, as he made the most of his chance and put his side up 2-0 and take the game away from a frustrated Rangers side.
The result saw the Jos-based team amass 66 points from 38 games, lift the NPFL trophy for the first time in its history and, also, become the 19th NPFL champion.
The side, coached by Kennedy Boboye, would be Nigeria’s main flag-bearer in next season’s CAF Champions League, where they will muck it out with Africa’s best.
Onukogu Kanayochuqu Jubal,
Ag Sports Editor,
LEADERSHIP Newspapers Group
Num quam conficimus perfectas, sed semper melius (never perfect, but always better)
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