Friday, April 20, 2012

The Predictor's NPL Week 21 preview

It is expected that Kano Pillars will remain at the top of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) standings and could even go two or three points clear of the chasing pack.

At the other end, the dogfight continues with 2006 champions, Ocean Boys in the fight for survival alongside 3SC, Jigawa Golden Stars, Niger Tornadoes and Rising Stars. Here's the full preview for Matchday 21 games:

Saturday, April 21, 2012
Rising Stars v Enyimba (Kayode Oluyemi Stadium)
Bottom-placed Rising Stars are condemned to start winning games to be able to keep their Premier League status. However they come up against fourth-placed Enyimba in Ado-Ekiti this Saturday after losing the reverse clash to a Chinonso Okonkwo goal in Aba on March 25.

Six-time champions Enyimba have enough quality to avoid defeat in this game as Rising Stars have struggled to score goals.
Our prediction: 1 – 1

3SC v Kaduna United (Lekan Salami Stadium)
3SC lost the first meeting between both sides this season by two-nil in Kaduna. Last season when both teams met in this tie, it ended 1-1.

This time, Kaduna United would be mindful of conceding fouls in front of their goal area as Mutiu Adegoke will be lurking to hit straight at goal from the dead-ball. But 3SC should win this game and move out of the drop zone.
Our prediction: 3 – 1

Kano Pillars v Gombe United (Sani Abacha Stadium)
This is the 16th head-to-head clash between both teams since 2003 and Gombe United might go ahead without leading scorer, Mustapha Babadidi. Both teams are tied on seven wins apiece from the previous 15 meetings including a 0-1 loss by Kano Pillars in the reverse game this season.

Gombe United have not taken a point in Kano since their 1-1 draw in 2005. Kano Pillars will take the points as they look to cement their place at the top of the standings.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Sharks v Niger Tornadoes (Sharks Stadium)
Sibi Gwar's lone strike in the first meeting between both sides was enough to earn Tornadoes the points. It will be the eighth trip for Tornadoes in nine years to Sharks. The Blue Angels defeated Tornadoes 3-0 last season in this same game.

Tornadoes have never enjoyed their trips to the Garden City and this time John Obuh and his team will ensure they leave Port Harcourt without a result.
Our prediction: 3 – 1

Sunday, April 22, 2012
Warri Wolves v Heartland (Warri City Stadium; live on SuperSport 9)
It is three years since Wolves defeated Heartland in the top flight when they got a 3-2 win in 2009 in this game. Last season in this corresponding match, Wolves had to fight back from two goals down to secure a point in a 2-2 draw while they lost 1-3 in the reverse game this season.

This game, live on SuperSport 9 this Sunday from 4pm Nigerian time, will not be short of talent from both sides with Super Eagles' stars like Chigozie Agbim, Sunday Mba and Uche Ossai with Wolves facing Heartland's Bartholomew Ibenegbu and Obinna Nwachukwu. Wolves have a good chance to end their no-win streak over the Cup holders.
Our prediction: 2 – 1

Wikki Tourists v Sunshine Stars (Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium)
Sunshine Stars have not lost to the Tourists in four years in the Premier League. Wikki have already lost 1-4 at Sunshine Stars this season and will be out to take all points in this second meeting this term.

Since 2003, Wikki have beaten Sunshine Stars just once in this game and will be up against a strong playing personnel in Bauchi this Sunday.
Our prediction: 1 – 1

Ocean Boys v Dolphins (Samson Siasia Stadium)
Ocean Boys suffered their first-ever loss in the NPL to Dolphins and it was a 0-3 defeat in Port Harcourt on April 14 this year. As for the champions, Dolphins they are yet to score at Ocean Boys in this south-south derby and Samson Unuanel will be keen to see his men keep that record in a bid to start their battle for survival.

The Divine Warriors in spite of their poor form lately will dent Dolphins' run in the title race.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

Akwa United v Enugu Rangers (Uyo Township Stadium)
The last time both teams met in this same fixture, Rangers won 1-0 in Uyo. In the first clash this season in Enugu, goals from Chikeluba Ofoedu and Haliru Umar helped Rangers to a 2-1 win.

Rangers will come under the physical approach of The Promise Keepers, who will edge this by the odd goal.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

Jigawa Golden Stars v Kwara United (Hadejia Township Stadium)
Kwara United put four past the Golden Stars in the reverse game this term when they won 4-2 in Ilorin. But do not expect a high-scoring game in Hadejia where the hosts will win. Kwara United have failed to win in their last two visits to Jigawa and a third loss looks unavoidable.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

Lobi Stars v ABS FC (Emmanuel Atongo Stadium)
Lobi Stars are still searching for their first top flight win over ABS after three defeats including this season's 1-2 loss in the reverse game. But Lobi come into this game with a 2-1 win over Kwara United on Matchday 19 while ABS surrendered their unbeaten streak at Sharks.

ABS have the team to pull off a surprise result but Lobi with the like of David Tyavkase, Tony Okpotu, Moses Orkuma and Bassey Ezekiel will edge this for their first win over the Saraki Boys.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

*The Predictor got THREE correct scores including TWO exact results from seven games from Matchday 19.

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