Plateau United have emerged as the 2017 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions after 38 games.
Plateau United clinched the title on the final matchday with a 2-0 win over 2016 champions Enugu Rangers at the fully packed Rwang Pam Stadium on Saturday, September 9.
The Kennedy Boboye side needed just a point to win the league but goals from Emeka Umeh in the 28th and Benjamin Turns in the second half ensured that the Jos-based side win their first NPFL title in their 42-year-old history.
Umeh and Kabiru Umar were impressive in the early minutes of the game before the latter assisted the former for the opening goal of the game.
Charles Henlong had a chance to bring Rangers level, turning inside the box before shooting wide.
Plateau United almost went two goals up through Daniel Itodo but his shot was cleared on the goal line by Rangers left-back Ugwu Uwadiegwu.
Turba finally sealed the win two minutes from time with only his second goal of the season.
Plateau United finished the season with 66 points-19 wins, nine draws, 10 losses; scored 49 goals and conceded 25.
Plateau United struggled last season, occupying the relegation zone until Matchday 24 and were just 16th, one place above relegation zone until matchday 28. They eventually finished 12th with 13 wins, 10 losses and 13 loses.
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Five defining games of Plateau United’s NPFL title winning season
1. Remo Stars 1 Vs Plateau United 2 (matchday 1)
After a subpar season, Plateau United started the 2016/2017 season with an away win at Remo Stars in January 2017.
They followed the away win with three consecutive home wins over Sunshine Stars, Enyimba and Abia Warriors and a goalless draw away at Gombe United.
2. Sunshine United FC 1 Vs Plateau United FC 2 (matchday 23)
Plateau United got a crucial away win in Akure against Sunshine FC on matchday 23 which stretched their lead at the top to five points following MFM FC’s 3-1 loss at Lobi Stars.
3. Kano Pillars 1 Vs Plateau United 1 (matchday 33)
With just three points separating them and MFM FC, Plateau United travelled away to Kano Pillars while their main challengers hosted Enyimba on matchday 33.
MFM FC, however, failed to beat Enyimba, the first time they failed to win at home and Plateau United took advantage of the dropped points by their main challengers to grab a crucial one point away at Kano Pillars.
4. Plateau United 1 Vs MFM FC 0 ( Matchday 34)
With just three points separating them, leaders Plateau United welcomed second-placed MFM FC in a game that many expected to decide the 2017 NPFL title.
Plateau United won the tie 1-0 to stretch their lead over MFM FC to six points.
5. Plateau United 2 Vs Enugu Rangers 0 (matchday 38)
The title challenge went into the last day of the 2017 NPFL season following MFM FC’s 2-0 home win over Nasarawa United in Matchday 37 while Plateau United lost 1-0 away to Wikki Tourists.
Plateau United needed at least a draw while MFM FC were looking to win their last game away at El-Kanemi Warriors to take advantage of any slip from the leaders.
Plateau United, however, held their nerves to a 2-0 win which ensured they get their hands on their first title in 42 years.
Some Plateau United records
Aside from finishing the season with the most points, Plateau United scored 49 goals this season, at least three more than any other NPFL team this season.
The champions also conceded the fewest goals (25) and kept the joint most (17) clean sheets.
Plateau United also lead the NPFL table on away points only, accruing 13 points away from home.
Plateau United who are winners of the 2017 NPFL have also qualified for the CAF Champions League next season along with second-placed MFM FC.
Enyimba FC also managed to clinch a CAF Confederation Cup place courtesy of their third-place finish in the league.
Three clubs from the South West got relegated to the Nigeria National League (NNL).
Shooting Stars of Ibadan finished 17th and suffer the drop with Ilorin-based ABS FC and Remo Stars of Sagamu, Ogun State.
Gombe United who finished 19th will also play at the NNL next season.