Tuesday, November 01, 2011

NPL preview for Week 36

Ten games will be up in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) starting from Tuesday. Followers will have their eyes and ears fixed on the outcome of games in Port Harcourt, Ijebu-Ode, Warri and Jos, as these cities play host to key games that will have effect on the title and survival races.

Here are the previews and predictions for Match Day 36 games:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Crown FC v Sharks (Ilorin Township Stadium)
This is the second time both sides are meeting in the top flight. The first game this term in February recorded seven goals at Sharks, which emerged 4 – 3 winners.

The Blue Angels have picked just a win on the road, and will face a Crown side keen on taking all points to push their way to survival. But this game has the trappings of a draw written all over it.
Our prediction: 1 – 1

Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Kaduna United v Niger Tornadoes (Kaduna Township Stadium)
In five years, Tornadoes are yet to win at Kaduna. The best result(s) by a Tornadoes side on the road to Kaduna were two goalless draws in 2009 and 2006.

In nine head-to-head games since 2006, both sides have shared three wins and three draws. But Niger Tornadoes might just put up a plucky display to shock Kaduna United, which are in a players’ crisis following a pay row.

And just like the outcome of the first game this term, Tornadoes should escape with a point.
Our prediction: 0 – 0

Kwara United v Gombe United (Ilorin Township Stadium)
Kwara United will be keen to shake off the humiliating 0 – 7 loss to Plateau United on Match Day 35 when Gombe United come calling.

Kadiri Ikhana’s men are out to make it a double on the Desert Scorpions after they won the first meeting through goals from Barnabas Imenger and Kabiru Sanusi.

For Gombe United, it is eight years on the bounce and they are yet to record a road win in Ilorin against Kwara United. And that run does not look like changing in this game, as it is hard to see where Gombe’s goals will come from considering their poor scoring run in away games this term.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Heartland v Enugu Rangers (Dan Anyiam Stadium)
This is the southeast derby also known as the Oriental Derby. Rangers took the bragging rights in the reverse game through Brendan Ogbu’s solitary goal in Enugu.

Rangers will be seeking for their first point in Owerri in eight years, as seven previous visits have all ended in defeats including a 0 – 1 loss in this corresponding fixture last season.

Heartland, now the Federation Cup holders, go into this game with the edge of having won eight times against Rangers’ five in their last 15 meetings in the NPL since 2003.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

Juth v Plateau United (Rwang Pam Stadium)
It will be the last time in a while when the Jos derby will be witnessed in the top flight, as Juth play host to Plateau United.

Eze Nwadike made sure that Plateau United won the first game this season and Bitrus Bewarang’s men are on a fine run of five games unbeaten including last match day’s destruction of Kwara United by 7 – 0.

Juth are already condemned to start life in the lower division but will battle for pride in this city derby though Plateau United should edge this based on current form.
Our prediction: 1 – 2

Lobi Stars v Enyimba (Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium)
In the reverse match this season, Lobi Stars got spanked 0 – 3 in Aba. Last season, Lobi Stars lost this same fixture to Enyimba by 0 – 1.

The last time Lobi Stars defeated Enyimba in a Premier League match was three years ago.

After failing to reach the final of this year’s Caf Champions League, six-time league winners, Enyimba are out to chase a continental spot in the league, and will go for the points at Lobi this Wednesday.
Our prediction: 1 – 1

Dolphins v 3SC (Liberation Stadium)
Both teams will be out to avoid defeat or drop points. Dolphins need all points to keep the chase of a third title alive while 3SC will be pleased to get a result from this game to avoid battling till the last day for survival.

3SC have done badly on the road this term without a single win and go to Dolphins having lost all their three previous visits to Port Harcourt.

It is going to be a herculean task for Fatai Amoo’s men in this tie having dropped points in the first game that ended 1 – 1 in Abeokuta.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Ocean Boys v Bukola Babes (Samson Siasia Stadium)
The Babes won the first game 2 – 1 with Effiom Otu-Bassey netting a double while Chigozie Christopher scored for Ocean Boys.

However, both men will not be part of this encounter, as they have moved on with their careers.

For Bukola Babes, their Premier League status is secured while Ocean Boys are just two points above the drop zone. Samson Unuanel will definitely set up his side for a home win.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

Sunshine Stars v Zamfara United (Dipo Dina Stadium)
This game will be similar to climbing to the top of Mount Everest for Zamfara United, struggling to keep their top flight status.

Sunshine Stars have just been booted out of the Caf Confederation Cup by Tunisian side, Club Africain and will look to the league as the only realistic chance of winning a silverware this season.

Expect Gbenga Ogunbote’s men to complete the double on Zamfara United this term after winning the first game 1 – 0 in Kano on March 9 this year.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Warri Wolves v Kano Pillars (Warri City Stadium; live on SuperSport Select)
This is the biggest game of this match day. Warri Wolves are out to claw their way back for a Caf Confederation Cup spot while Kano Pillars know that they are still in the race mathematically and also look good for the continent.

Rabiu Ali’s goal in the first game secured all points for Ladan Bosso’s men. But they go to Warri having failed to pick a point there since 2005.

Last season in this corresponding game, Wolves claimed all points winning three-nil, and Paul Aigbogun will demand for nothing less from his men this time.
Our prediction: 2 – 1

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