Friday, February 25, 2011

Nigeria preview for Week 18

This weekend one game – Heartland versus Enugu Rangers – has been called off at the instance of Heartland, which have 14 players called up to the senior national team, the under20s and the under23s. 
So, nine games will be played on Saturday and Sunday while one Monday match holds in Bauchi.

Saturday, February 26, 2011
Gombe United v Kwara United
The Desert Scorpions go into this game with a win in their last five games in which they have picked just two points. Bernard Ogbe’s men will want to start winning again and against Kwara United with a poor away record this term, Gombe should just nick this one like they did last season in this same game.
Prediction: 1 – 0

Sharks v Crown FC
Crown Football Club have shipped in 10 goals in eight games on the road and they head to Sharks, who have dropped just two points in Port Harcourt. It is difficult to see how Crown will escape from Port Harcourt in their first topflight tie against Sharks. Even with the absence of a few key players, the Blue Angels should run over the Ajilete Valiant.
Prediction: 2 – 0

Niger Tornadoes v Kaduna United
The last time Kaduna United won in this game it was on September 20, 2008 when they got a 2 – 1 win in Minna. But three other visits dating back to 2006 have all ended in losses including last season’s 0 – 3 bashing. Maurice Cooreman’s men will fancy their chances for this northern derby but Tornadoes should just edge it with the odd goal.
Prediction: 1 – 0

Kano Pillars v Warri Wolves
This is one of the big clashes of the season. But Kano Pillars are struggling to score goals following a 0 – 0 draw with Niger Tornadoes and a 0 – 3 loss to Sunshine Stars. Now they face Warri Wolves, which have an unbeaten streak of six games. Last season, Wolves lost this game four-nil and have struggled on their visits to Kano since 2004. Ladan Bosso needs to start winning fast or he will be faced with criticism from the Kano fans.
Prediction: 2 – 1

Sunday, February 27, 2011
3SC v Dolphins
The leaders, Dolphins, go into this game with the meanest defence line having conceded just six in 16 games. It will be interesting to see how Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) break that backline in Abeokuta on Sunday. Last season in this same fixture, Dolphins got a point and it is expected that the Port Harcourt team will sit back and aim to hit 3SC on the offensive but this game should end goalless.
Prediction: 0 – 0

Plateau United v Juth FC
This is one of the four city derbies in the topflight this season. The first and second from bottom go up against each other in this Jos derby. Both clubs have poor form guides from their last five games with Plateau United yet to win in their last five. It is tough to see where this game will swing considering the poor scoring form of both sides.
Prediction: 1 – 1

Zamfara United v Sunshine Stars
Already Zamfara United have suffered two home defeats and a third looks on the cards for them this weekend when Sunshine Stars come calling. Though Gbenga Ogunbote will not have the duo of Cletus Itodo and Harrison Egbune for this tie since they are away on international duties, his side will still soldier on to claim a second away win to continue the chase on Dolphins at the summit.
Prediction: 1 – 2

Enyimba v Lobi Stars
Victor Barnabas will face his old teammates when Lobi Stars visit Aba on Sunday. The champions surprisingly lost to Jos University Teaching Hospital (Juth) Football Club by 1 – 2 on Monday. But at home to Lobi Stars, the Peoples Elephant will trample on their opponents as they have the edge of having won eight times in past 14 meetings dating back to February 19, 2003. Lobi Stars have managed just a point in seven visits to the Aba stadium.
Prediction: 2 – 0

Monday, February 28, 2011
Bukola Babes v Ocean Boys
Both teams meet for the first time in the Premier League in a Monday game. Both clubs have interesting stats going into this match, as they have lost just once in their last five games. But Ocean Boys in spite of their resurgence lately, they have not picked a point on the road in seven games. It will be difficult for the Brass Boys to hold off the attacking line of the Babes, which has averaged 1.6 goal(s) per game at home this season.
Prediction: 2 – 0

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