Wednesday, June 01, 2011

NPL preview for Week 24

Nine games instead of 10 will take place on Matchday 24 this Wednesday following the shift in the match between Kaduna United and Heartland by the Nigeria Premier League (NPL). 

There are some interesting match-ups involving teams in the bottom and top four of the log.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Plateau United v Zamfara United (Rwang Pam Stadium, Jos)
This is a relegation dogfight. The first meeting between the two sides produced a thriller in Kano with Zamfara United storming back from two goals down to win 3 – 2. This is Plateau’s chance to earn their scalp on fellow strugglers who surprisingly stunned holders, Enyimba by a lone goal on matchday 23 in Gusau to rubbish bookmakers’ prediction.
Our prediction: 2 – 1

Niger Tornadoes v Lobi Stars (Bako Kontagora Stadium, Minna)
Both teams clash in their 16th meeting in eight years. Lobi go into this tie with six wins against Tornadoes’ five with the other four finishing in draws. Last seven visits of Lobi Stars to Tornadoes have seen them pick just two points with last season’s corresponding fixture ending two-nil in favour of Niger Tornadoes. Lobi won the first meeting of the season by 2 – 1 but in Minna it will be tough to leave with a point.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Kwara United v Crown FC (Ilorin Township Stadium)
The best Kwara United will climb on the log is one step up to seventh. It is hard to look beyond Kadiri Ikhana’s men beating Crown. Kwara United will be playing at their original home ground for the first time this season. Both teams are on same form guide of two wins and three losses in their last five games. But one man, Kabiru Sanusi will hope to add to his 10 goals this season and revenge his side’s loss in the first meeting in Ilaro.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Sharks v Ocean Boys (Sharks Stadium, Port Harcourt)
If he plays, striker Michael Andrew will be facing his former club. Coincidentally, Andrew scored Ocean Boys’ goal in the reverse game when both sides played a 1 – 1 draw in Yenagoa last November. Surprisingly, the Brass Boys have been a boogie team of some sorts to the Blue Angels since 2006. In nine past clashes, Ocean Boys have won five while Sharks have won just once with three games ending in draws. In this same game last season Sharks won by a lone goal. But on current form, John Obuh’s men are expected to edge this.
Our prediction: 2 – 1

Gombe United v Dolphins (Pantami Stadium, Gombe)
The Desert Scorpions will play their first game in their new 12,000 capacity ground. Though Dolphins are capable of spoiling that party for the home side their past trips to Gombe have proved otherwise. The leaders have lost all five games in Gombe since 2003 including last season’s 0 – 2 loss. But form guide could prevail and see Dolphins grind out a result from this tie
Our prediction: 1 – 1

3SC v Kano Pillars (MKO Abiola Int’l Stadium, Abeokuta)
Ladan Bosso’s Kano Pillars are on a four-game winning streak and last lost on March 6 to Lobi Stars in Jalingo. On the other hand, 3SC have blown hot and cold in their home and away games. Though Fatai Amoo’s side have not lost at home they have dropped six points and Pillars will fancy stealing a result back with them to Kano after winning the first meeting by a lone goal through Joseph Thompson’s goal.
Our prediction: 1 – 1

Warri Wolves v Juth (Warri City Stadium)
Last season in this same game, Wolves won two-nil and on paper, the home side look good to win. Paul Aigbogun’s men will be out to complete the double on Juth after winning the reverse match through Nelson Onyekachi’s first half goal. Juth are already looking like a side primed for the drop and Wolves even without Ehiosun Ekigho will be all over De-Healers in this game.
Our prediction: 3 – 1

Enyimba v Bukola Babes (Enyimba Sports Complex, Aba)
Coach Festus Allen is under pressure at Bukola Babes after he was handed a three-game ultimatum last week. The Babes won their first-ever topflight clash against holders, Enyimba but they now face a tough game in Aba following the Peoples Elephant’s loss at Zamfara United on matchday 23. It will be a difficult Wednesday afternoon for Allen and his boys especially with Enyimba’s home record of no loss and zero goal(s) conceded.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Enugu Rangers v Sunshine Stars (Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu)
Sunshine Stars are yet to win all points at Enugu in four past visits since September 2003. Last season, Sunshine held out for a goalless draw in this same game but won the reverse fixture this term by 2 – 0 with Ukeyima Akombo and Ifeanyi Inyam getting the goals. But the Flying Antelopes will sure present Gbenga Ogunbote a test for their title aspiration though Rangers have shown that they can be timid against the big sides at home.
Our prediction: 0 – 0

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