Saturday, June 25, 2011

NPL preview for Week 29

The game between Dolphins and Crown FC will no longer hold this Saturday following the away team’s involvement in an auto accident on Thursday morning while travelling to play their Nigeria Premier League (NPL) Week 29 game in Port Harcourt.

But the other games will light up nine venues, as they all look like potential home wins for the hosts.

Saturday, June 25, 2011
Plateau United v Enugu Rangers (Rwang Pam Stadium)
A late goal from Sunday Chinedu in the first game ensured that the Flying Antelopes got all points in Enugu. Rangers will be seeking a third win on the road this season but face a Plateau United side determined to beat the drop. Last two visits to the Rwang Pam Stadium by Rangers in 2003 and 2004 have ended in 1 – 2 and 0 – 2 defeats. Whatever the outcome of this game, George Akpabio is tipped to score his 12th goal of the season.
Our prediction: 2 – 1

Kano Pillars v Juth (Sani Abacha Stadium)
In the reverse fixture this term, Pillars won 2 – 1. Ladan Bosso’s men are set to complete the double over Juth this season in a bid to give themselves a shot at the title after losing out to Nigeria National League (NNL) side, Spotlite FC, in the Federation Cup in mid-week. Juth’s cause to survive the drop appear to be lost after picking just three points from 39 on the road coupled with having won just twice in their last five games.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Sunday, June 26, 2011
Bukola Babes v Niger Tornadoes (Ilorin Township Stadium)
On January 1, Bukola Babes got a goalless draw on the road at Tornadoes. Both clubs have two things in common going into this game – they are 36 points and are outside of the top half of the league table. Tornadoes are the most in-form side of the two with two wins and a draw in their last five games while Bukola Babes are yet to win in their last five games. With Sibi Gwar grabbing the headlines for his scoring streak, the Babes will have work hard to stop the striker from scoring.
Our prediction: 1 – 1

3SC v Gombe United (Obafemi Awolowo Stadium)
Three past visits by Gombe United to 3SC in 2005, 2006 and 2010 have all ended in lone goal defeats. In the first meeting between both sides on New Year’s Day, 3SC dropped all points after Tochukwu Linus got the goal for Gombe United on 48 minutes. The two teams start Matchday 29 outside the top half of the log but Fatai Amoo’s men are condemned to win this after their first home loss this year (to Enugu Rangers).
Our prediction: 1 – 0

Ocean Boys v Kwara United (Samson Siasia Stadium; live on SuperSport 9)
10th placed side, Kwara United will face Ocean Boys in this tricky tie. Last season in this corresponding fixture, United secured a 1 – 1 draw. Samson Unuanel’s side drew their last home game 1 – 1 with Warri Wolves and will aim for a win after going three straight games without getting all points. Super Sand Eagles skipper, Isiaka Olawale, scored both goals in the first meeting to hand United all points. But this will be a different game.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

Lobi Stars v Heartland (Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium)
Heartland face the league’s current in-form side, Lobi. Dominic Iorfa’s men have won three in their last three games (against Crown, Kwara United and Warri Wolves). They are also unbeaten in last five games. Heartland’s struggles are highlighted in their last five games in which they have picked just four points. Lobi got a point in the reverse game though last term in this game on January 10, 2010 Heartland got a 1 – 1 draw. Heartland’s last defeat at Lobi was in 2005.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

Zamfara United v Warri Wolves (Sardauna Memorial Stadium)
Zamfara United go into this game with a 50 per cent record from their last five games – two wins, a draw and a loss. High-flying Wolves are third on the log and have won four in last five games, and have picked nine points on the road in 14 away games. Expect Wolves’ head coach, Paul Aigbogun, to adopt his usual swashbuckling counter-attacking style at Zamfara in a bid to get a result. Last three visits by Wolves since 2005 have ended in a loss and two draws including last season’s 0 – 2 loss.
Our prediction: 1 – 1

Sunshine Stars v Kaduna United (Gateway Int’l Stadium)
Two teams in the 2011 Orange Caf Confederation Cup go head-to-head in this game. Leaders, Sunshine Stars play host to ninth placed side, Kaduna United. In the reverse game on January 2, right-back Victor Ezema got the winner for United. On March 27, 2010, United lost this same game 1 – 2 and face a side that will be keen to open the gap on Dolphins, whose game against Crown has been called off by the Premier League. Whatever the outcome, Sunshine Stars will remain top of the table in the face of their 100 per cent home record.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Enyimba v Sharks (Enyimba Sports Complex)
In 14 home games, holders Enyimba are yet to concede a goal. The Peoples Elephant have scored 26 goals at home – an average of 1.9 goal(s) per game so far. Victor Ezeji (pictured) leads Sharks’ attack to his former team that they defeated 2 – 1 in the first game this season on the first day of this year. Since 2003, the Blue Angels are yet to pick a point at Enyimba including last season’s 0 – 1 loss in February 2009. The key for Sharks getting a result in Aba will be to become the first side to breach Enyimba’s defence at home but the Blue Angels go into this game with a disadvantage of no wins in last four games.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

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