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Sporting FC Grabs First NPFL Ticket, Pillars On the Brink; Katsina Utd EFCC FC & Heartland Hopeful

July, 3 2023.

Sporting Lagos FC on Monday evening defeated South-West rivals Stommers SC of Abeokuta 2-0 on Day-2 of the Nigeria National League (NNL) Play-offs, to punch one of the four promotion tickets to the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL).

The victory was the second in as many matches at the Super 8 in Asaba, which will observe Tuesday as rest day before returning on Wednesday to play the last of the round-robin fixtures, that will produce the remaining three sides to be promoted.

Earlier, Mubarak Sani and Abdullahi Haruna got the goals for four-time NPFL champions, Kano Pillars as they laid down the marker by beating hapless DMD FC of Maiduguri 2-0 to inch closer to an early return to the NPFL, after making it two wins from two matches played.

Day-2 started on a frenetic note, with EFCC FC of Abuja producing the first major upset at the play-offs when racing to a 2-0 lead, before Katsina United halved the deficit to end the encounter 2-1.

Abdulkareem Ammar's first half brace for EFCC FC gave them an improbable lead, before former Enyimba of Aba player, Victor Mbaoma scored his third goal in two matches for the Chanji Boys, who must now beat bitter rivals, Kano Pillars in their last group game on Wednesday, to stand a chance of gaining promotion.

Monday’s win gave EFCC 3 points, same as Katsina United, while DMD FC is pointless, going into the final match of the group on Wednesday, reports.

The promotion won by Sporting Lagos with one match to spare against Heartland, marks the first ever time they will be playing in the Premier League, as they continue to receive praise for bringing top flight football back to Lagos, following the demotion and subsequent disbandment of MFM FC at the end of the 2021/22 season.

The other promotion slot in the Southern Conference is presently occupied by Heartland of Owerri, for whom Olasunkanmi Quadri scored a 15th minute to edge FC ONE Rocket FC of Abat 1-0, to take their points tally to 4, having drawn goalless with Stommers SC on Sunday.

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