Friday, March 11, 2011

Nigeria preview for Week 19

The topflight in Nigeria finally reaches the halfway mark in spite of all the problems faced in running the league. One thing is certain – Dolphins will remain top of the table whether they win, draw or lose their match day 19 game on Saturday. Here are the previews for this weekend’s fixtures:

Saturday, March 12, 2011
Kwara United v Niger Tornadoes
A loss for Niger Tornadoes could leave them in the drop zone as the season reaches halfway. The chances of Tornadoes getting a result away at Kwara United look slim considering their poor run on the road which has seen them pick just two points from 24. Kadiri Ikhana’s side should get all points, as Tornadoes are yet to win at Kwara United in six visits. Striker Kabiru Sanusi is tipped to grab his fifth goal of the campaign in this one.
Prediction: 2 – 0

Juth FC v Enugu Rangers
Juth go into this tie with just a win and four losses in their last five games. On the other hand, Enugu Rangers are now enjoying their best spell of three wins, a draw and a loss in their last five games. Last weekend, ‘The Healers’ crashed by 1 – 3 at their home ground, the Rwang Pam Stadium, to leaders Dolphins. The Flying Antelopes will go into this game with the hope of becoming the ninth side to take points in Jos. But a draw looks more on the card.
Prediction: 1 – 1

Dolphins v Enyimba
This is definitely the big clash of the weekend. Title aspirants, Dolphins, play host to holders, Enyimba, in Port Harcourt. Stanley Eguma’s men are unbeaten in their last five games. Surprisingly the Peoples Elephant have left Port Harcourt unscathed in the past two seasons. However, the present winning streak of nine wins in nine games at home gives Dolphins the edge, as Enyimba have mustered just three points from 27 on the road this term.
Prediction: 1 – 0

Sunday, March 13, 2011
Crown FC v Gombe United
Newcomers Crown now have the chance of getting back to winning ways, as they play host to Gombe United. The visiting team have struggled lately and just ended a streak of eight games without a win in the topflight. Both sides have identical form guides of one win, one draw and three losses in their last five games. Crown have the edge to nick this one.
Prediction: 1 – 0

Lobi Stars v Plateau United
It is expected that Plateau United will put up a gutsy performance in this encounter but Lobi Stars will continue their climb into the top half of the table. It is difficult to see beyond Lobi Stars taking all points as corresponding games in the 2003 and 2004 seasons hand the home side the edge. Plateau’s away form has also been dismal.
Prediction: 1 – 0

Sunshine Stars v Bukola Babes
This is the first topflight meeting between the two sides. The impressive start of Bukola Babes looks under threat, as they could drop from sixth to seven. All eyes will be on Ibrahim Ajani of Sunshine Stars to see if he will continue his scoring run. This game will present Festus Allen’s men a huge test to their Premier League credential but Sunshine Stars look too good to drop points at the Gateway International Stadium in Ijebu-Ode.
Prediction: 2 – 1

Ocean Boys v 3SC
League champions in 2006, Ocean Boys, have suffered two defeats on the bounce after two successive wins. Now they face 3SC with just one win in their last five games. The problem with 3SC has been in the final third and they have managed just one point from 24 on the road. Ocean Boys are favourites going into this tie, as this same fixture ended 3 – 0 in their favour last season.
Prediction: 2 – 0

Heartland v Sharks
Last season, Sharks did the double over Heartland with same scoreline of 1 – 0 at home and away. The Naze Millionaires will go for the jugular of the Blue Angels at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, as the away team are slightly depleted due to the absence of few key players. Christian Chukwu should be in charge for this game before Dutchman, Lodewijk de Kruif, finally takes control of the technical crew fully when the second round kicks off next month. This game will be live on SuperSport Nine on Sunday.
Prediction: 1 – 0

Zamfara United v Kano Pillars
Coach Ladan Bosso’s men cannot afford to lose or even draw this game because Zamfara United play host to Kano Pillars at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano – ironically the home of the away team. Expect the ground to be filled by spectators of Kano Pillars. Zamfara should join the trio of Crown, Juth and Plateau United as the sides to have lost four games at home this term so far. Zamfara United are also on a losing streak of five games on the trot.
Prediction: 0 – 2

Kaduna United v Warri Wolves
This is a tricky trip for Paul Aigbogun’s men. The Warri Wolves’ head coach has made it clear that they will head to Kaduna with a game plan to win. Wolves have lost in their last two visits against Kaduna United. Maurice Cooreman’s men will push for all points in this game to remain within touching distance of the leading teams.
Prediction: 1 – 0

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