Tuesday, May 17, 2011

NPL preview for Week 22

Sunshine Stars continue their chase on Dolphins at the top of the table but face a feisty tie in Aba against champions, Enyimba on matchday 22. 
Dolphins also go to high-scoring Enugu Rangers in a tricky tie just as the survival battle at the lower end of the log continues.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Plateau United v Ocean Boys (Rwang Pam Stadium, Jos)
This is only the second meeting between the two sides in the topflight. In the first clash this season in Yenagoa, Plateau United earned a point off Ocean Boys after Waziri Kabiru cancelled Ndubuisi Nkoro's first half strike. Plateau go into this tie with a better form guide than Ocean Boys in their last five games.
Our prediction: 2 – 1

Niger Tornadoes v Heartland (Bako Kontagora, Minna)
Both sides will be meeting for the 16th time in the Premier League since 2003. In the reverse fixture this season goals from Okey Nwadike and Osas Okoro made sure Heartland won by 2 - 1 in Owerri. Chibuzor Osigwe's strike sandwiched goals by the Heartland duo. But the quintet of Okoro, Bartholomew Ibenegbu, Julius Ubido and Gege Soriola will not be part of the trip to Minna to face Tornadoes. Heartland will also need to watch Sibi Gwar, who has netted three times in two games if they want to take a result on the road.
Our prediction: 2 – 1

Sharks v Lobi Stars (Sharks Stadium, Port Harcourt)
The Blue Angels have lost just once in their last five game and picked a point in 1 - 1 draw in the first clash of this tie through Gomo Onduku's goal. In six visits to Sharks, Lobi have managed a 1 - 1 draw in 2003. With Sharks set to have a full squad it is difficult to see how Lobi will cope with their attacking threat.
Our prediction: 3 – 0

Gombe United v Juth (Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi)
Juth are definitely in trouble going into this tie, as confidence at the side have sagged. Gombe took a point off De Healers when both sides met this season. Interestingly both teams have same form guide of two wins and three losses from their last five games. But Juth have lost in their last two visits to Gombe.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

3SC v Zamfara United (MKO Abiola International Stadium, Abeokuta)
Both teams produced a four-goal thriller in their first meeting this season. Zamfara have already lost a key player in Obasesam Enite to Dolphins in the mid-season transfer window and head to Abeokuta on the back of a seven-game run of no wins. It's difficult to look beyond 3SC taking all points in this game.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Enugu Rangers v Dolphins (Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu)
Rangers and Dolphins go head-to-head in their 12th topflight meeting on Wednesday in the last eight years. But the Flying Antelopes have the edge going into this tie having won five of the 11 past games against Dolphins' three with the other three ending in draws. Dolphins won the first game between both sides this term via Omoh Ojabu's goal and will aim for a result at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu, which is noted for producing high-scoring results this season.
Our prediction: 1 – 1

Warri Wolves v Crown FC (Warri City Stadium, Warri)
Troubled Crown FC head to Warri Wolves in search of a result to boost their fight for survival in the topflight. Ehiosun Ekigho's return to Wolves is delayed as he heads off with the Under23 national team to face Gombe United in a friendly on May 22 for the opening of the Pantami Stadium in Gombe. But his absence will not take away the quality in the side of Paul Aigbogun, as they would seek to better the result of their first clash with Crown in Ilaro that ended in a 1 - 1 draw.
Our prediction: 3 – 0

Enyimba v Sunshine Stars (Enyimba Sports Complex, Aba)
The title aspirations of Sunshine Stars will come under scrutiny in Aba when they face champions, Enyimba. The champions have taken four points from their last two games including a three-nil thumping of leaders, Dolphins, last Wednesday. Sunshine edged the Peoples Elephant in the reverse fixture this season by 2 - 1 but head to Aba with no wins in their last three visits to Enyimba and with a game in hand against newcomers, Bukola Babes. Sunshine's five-game unbeaten streak looks threatened.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Kaduna United v Kwara United (Kaduna Township Stadium, Kaduna)
Kwara United have lost just once in their last five games while Kaduna United have picked no points from six in their last two games. Last season in this corresponding fixture, Kwara United won 2 - 1 and completed the double on their opponents last term with another 2 - 1 win in Ilorin. Kadiri Ikhana will look to replace suspended Muritala Adekunle at right back. But the spotlight will be on Kabiru Sanusi, as he sets out to become the first player to score 10 goals in 10 games this season.
Our prediction: 1 – 1

Thursday, May 19, 2011
Bukola Babes v Kano Pillars (Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi)
Mannir Ubale's goal was the difference between both sides when they first met in Kano this season. Festus Allen will field a team without influential attacking winger, Otu-Bassey Effiom, who is suspended for this tie. Bukola Babes will be keen to return to winning ways after a draw and two losses in their last three league games.  
Our prediction: 2 – 1

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