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Enyimba, Rivers Utd Punch Continental Tickets: Lobi & Sunshine Stars Crash Out

June, 9 2023.

..Beaten Insurance & Remo Still Alive...

As against Wednesday's matches in the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) Championship play-offs, which all ended in frustrating draws, Friday's penultimate fixtures were all action packed and laced with fireworks and goals.

Summarily, Enyimba of Aba and Rivers United secured two of the three tickets for next season's CAF Inter-Club Championships. Lobi Stars of Makurdi and Sunshine Stars of Akure were ousted from both the race to win the NPFL title and ticket to play on the continent.

However, Remo Stars who shown brilliantly on Day 5 by beating Lobi Stars 2-0 and Bendel Insurance whose stuttering form and six draws in their last six league games culminated in their unbeaten run being halted by Rivers United, who won the 2pm kick-off 2-1, whilst Remo Stars and Bendel Insurance will fight for the third continental ticket when both sides meet on Sunday.

The Pride of Rivers raced to a two -goal lead through Maurice Chukwu and Joseph Onoja, before Divine Nwachukwu scored a stoppage time consolation for the Benin Arsenal, who must beat Remo Stars on Sunday to qualify for the CAF Confederation Cup.

Come Sunday, Remo will be needing just a draw, to play on the continent for the second straight season, but their victory on Day 5 was made easier by a hapless Lobi Stars, who again failed to score and has no goal to their name in the Super Six.

Meanwhile, seasoned campaigners, Enyimba of Aba turned on the style against another stuttering side, Sunshine Stars of Akure, in the 7pm kick-off played under floodlight at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, in Onikan Lagos.

A quick fire brace by Mbaoma Chijioke in the 3rd and 9th minute and a show stopper from Ikenna Cooper in the 66th minute, consigned the Akure Gunners to a 0-3 defeat, the worst loss by any side at the playoffs.

While Sunshine Stars joined Lobi Stars in effectively exiting the competition with one match to spare, Enyimba with superior goals difference, reclaimed top spot from Rivers United which had temporarily gone top with 8 points, after ruffling the feathers of their South-South rivals, Insurance of Benin.

Interestingly, the two teams topped their respective groups in the 2022/23 regular season, with identical points tally - 34 reports.

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