Sunday, June 12, 2011

NPL preview for Week 27

All eight games in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) will take place on Sunday with the games involving the two leading sides, Dolphins and Sunshine Stars, called off due to Orange Caf Confederation engagements by Kaduna United and Sunshine Stars.

That means the top two positions will remain unchanged after this weekend’s games. Here are the previews for matchday 27:

Sunday, June 12, 2011
Kano Pillars v Heartland (Sani Abacha Stadium)
This is definitely the biggest clash of this round. Heartland won the first meeting by two-nil in Owerri but the Naze Millionaires have picked just one point on the road this term. Heartland’s best result in Kano was a 1 – 0 win in October 2009 but lost by 4 – 0 at same venue almost a year later. A tough game awaits them in Kano.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Bukola Babes v Sharks (Ilorin Township Stadium)
Gomo Onduku got the winning goal for the Blue Angels over Bukola Babes in the first game. The Babes start an interim reign under the guidance of Kabir Sulaiman Dogo as head coach following the axing of Festus Allen on Thursday. Sharks need a result badly in this tie in the aftermath of their mid-week shock 2 – 2 home draw to Zamfara United.
Our prediction: 1 – 1

3SC v Enugu Rangers (MKO Abiola Int’l Stadium)
In the 1970s down into the late 1980s, this game would have attracted lots of interest but that traditional rivalry has waned over recent years. With 3SC struggling for form and Rangers inconsistent on the road, this game shouldn’t affect much on the log. In the reverse game, Rangers won by two-nil through goals from Fred Okwara and Uche Nwofor. Rangers’ last three visits to 3SC have yielded just a point and Fatai Amoo’s men will want to even the score for pride sake after losing in the first game.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

Juth v Crown FC (Rwang Pam Stadium)
This is the second meeting between both sides in the topflight. And it is also a relegation battle that will boost the winners’ chances of survival this term. Crown earlier in the season won on this same ground against Plateau United – their only away win this season. Gabriel Agu sealed the points for the Ajilete Valiant in the first game at Ilaro. But Emmanuel Deutsche side will gear up to take all points in this dogfight in Jos.
Our prediction: 2 – 1

Lobi Stars v Kwara United (Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium)
This will be the eighth game between the two sides since February 2005. Kwara United edge Lobi with three wins to two while two games have ended in draws in the head-to-head. Kwara United’s Kabiru Sanusi is still chasing his 11th goal of the season to catch up with Ibrahim Ajani of Sunshine Stars. But his team will have their hands full against Lobi though they won their first clash this season by a lone goal. Kadiri Ikhana’s team are yet to win a point at Lobi Stars since February 2008.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

Enyimba v Plateau United (Enyimba Sports Complex)
Big question ahead of this game is: ‘Will Plateau United become the first side to breach Enyimba’s defence at home after 1,170 minutes of football?’ Definitely pundits will say it won’t come from Plateau United. But Okey Emordi’s men know from the first clash with their opponents that they will have to be at their best. Enyimba lost 0 – 1 to Plateau in Jos in December 2010 but have not dropped points against Plateau United in Aba since 2003.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Ocean Boys v Warri Wolves (Samson Siasia Stadium)
Paul Aigbogun’s men won the first game via Efe Yarhere’s goal early this year in Warri. And the goal scorer has been in red-hot form in Wolves’ last two games – a warning to Ocean Boys to watch out for him. It will definitely be a tall order for Aigbogun’s men, as they seek to remain third on the log.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

Zamfara United v Gombe United (Sardauna Memorial Stadium)
This is one of the northern derbies in the topflight. Zamfara secured their biggest result of the season at Sharks on matchday 26 with a 2 – 2 draw. In spite of suffering a two-nil defeat earlier in the season at Gombe United, the home side will bank on their last four wins in the away side’s last four visits since 2005 to edge this game and further give themselves the chance of remaining in the topflight.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

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