Osas Idehen's 11th goal of the season with just eight minutes of play left secured a nervy win for the Peoples' Elephant against Rangers in Aba on Sunday.
Title rivals Kano Pillars failed to keep up the pressure, going down 1-2 to Sunshine Stars in Akure. But the story of the weekend happened in Ilorin, where Kwara United put six past Ranchers Bees.
Yusuf Jaiyeola and Nasiru Ali scored a brace each, with Sibi Gwar and Maroof Mohammed accounting for the balance.
The results means Bees are relegated, with Gateway, who lost 2-0 to Kaduna United, joining them as the first two sides to be confirmed for the drop.
In Port Harcourt, Sharks dented Heartland's slim continental hopes with a 1-0 victory, while Shooting Stars eased their relegation worries with a 2-1 win over Niger Tornadoes.
Wikki Tourists however remain in trouble after they failed to find a way past Dolphins, despite playing at home. The game finished 0-0 and could ultimately prove costly for the Bauchi side.
Zamfara United consolidated their road victory last match day with a 1-0 home win over Gombe United in Gusau and Lobi Stars hopes of staying up were considerably brightened by a 3-1 win over Warri Wolves.
Wolves are now two points behind Kwara in the chase for the Confederation Cup spot.