Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Predictor’s Week 27 preview

Table-topping Enugu Rangers will be faced with a tie against basement boys, Rising Stars, this Sunday and head coach, Okey Emordi would not underrate the newcomers as he has termed the game “tricky.”

Emordi told “Yes we are top of the table, which is good for us. But this is the kind of games that can hurt you because the teams in the lower half of the table are the most difficult to play against at this time of the season. So it is a tricky game for us.”

Kano Pillars and Enyimba, both on 40 points and in second and third positions respectively, will hope that the Flying Antelopes slip at home in order to benefit.

SuperSport will broadcast two live games on Matchday 27 of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) from Ibadan and Ijebu-Ode on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Saturday, May 19, 2012
Kwara United v Kano Pillars (Ilorin Township Stadium)
This will be the 18th clash between the two sides in the top flight in nine years. Pillars have the edge in the previous 17 games with ten wins over six by Kwara United. But the Kano club have not won in Ilorin since their 1 – 0 triumph in March 2004.

The hosts will miss two influential players in right-back Muritala Adekunle and striker Kabiru Sanusi. Kwara United will have to be wary of Pillars’ quartet of Gambo Mohammed, Rabiu Ali, Mannir Ubale and Nasiru Ali. The four men have a combine total of 25 goals so far this season. It will be a tough game for Kwara United but they will edge this after losing the reverse game 0 – 2 in Kano.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

3SC v ABS FC (Lekan Salami Stadium; live on SS9)
In this same game last term, 3SC won 2 – 0 and it is expected that the Oluyole Warriors in spite of their coaching worries will continue from where they left off in Port Harcourt in the last matchday when they held off champions, Dolphins to a goalless draw. ABS won the first leg 2 – 0 but will find Ibadan tough.

ABS will recall strikers, Abdulrahman Bashir and Andrew Abalogu into their squad for this trip after both men were left out of the mid-week game against Sunshine Stars. 3SC goalkeeper, Dele Ajiboye will serve the last of his three-match suspension and his absence won’t stall the Ibadan-based club from winning this fourth meeting against their opponents.
Our prediction: 2 – 1

Wikki Tourists v Niger Tornadoes (Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium)
A goal from Azuka Ebinum, now with Warri Wolves, was enough for Tornadoes to win the reverse game in Minna. Justin Tenger’s team face the Tourists in Bauchi, where they have lost in their last three visits and have failed to score goals.

Ladan Bosso’s Tourists are famed for their 1 – 0 scorelines when playing at home and it is expected that they will just nick in one goal and park the bus against Tornadoes who will remain in the bottom two after this matchday.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

Sunday, May 20, 2012
Akwa United v Sharks (Uyo Township Stadium)
Akwa United have not beaten Sharks in a top flight game since 2008. Both teams battled out to a 0 – 0 draw in the first game at the Sharks FC Stadium in Port Harcourt. In their last two games (both at home), Sharks have scored eight goals while The Promise Keepers have lost back-to-back games on the road without scoring.

Bloggers Player of the Month for April, Gomo Onduku, Ousmane Pape Sane, Kola Anubi, Victor Ezeji and Bright Ejike as well as new boys, Emmanuel Enize and Chiamaka Madu are expected to star for the Blue Angels in Uyo against Akwa United,who have been formidable at home. This game will end in a share of the spoils.
Our prediction: 1 – 1

Heartland v Lobi Stars (Dan Anyiam Stadium)
The Cup holders, Heartland are still nursing the pains of being eliminated from the Caf Confederation Cup by Congo’s AC Leopards over two legs and will need to respond in their league games. They struggled to beat Jigawa Golden Stars 1 – 0 in mid-week and their fans will love to see an improved performance this Sunday against Lobi Stars, who won the first game this season by a goal courtesy of Lazarus Chukwu’s effort.

Lobi last lost a game to the Naze Millionaires in the top division in 2010. Do not expect a high-scoring game in spite of the talent at Heartland, who will win this.
Our prediction: 2 – 1

Gombe United v Dolphins (Pantami Stadium)
First game between both sides in Port Harcourt ended 2 – 1 in favour of champions, Dolphins. Gombe United will be eager to shake off their 2 – 5 loss in the previous matchday with a win over Dolphins.

The champions have gone about hogging every talent in sight but will have to better their record at Gombe in the last nine years which stands at six losses in six games. Even without their leading scorer, Mustapha Babadidi, Gombe United will get the job done.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Sunshine Stars v Jigawa Golden Stars (Dipo Dina Stadium; live on SSL)
Since April 1, Sunshine Stars have failed to win at home only once in the Premiership when Warri Wolves held them to a 1 – 1. The Golden Stars have been terrible on the road in their last five games conceding 14 goals and losing all five.

Though the Akure Gunners will miss the service of their captain and leading scorer, Godfrey Oboabona, Jigawa Stars will not leave Ijebu-Ode with a point in this game, which is live on SuperSport Select this Sunday.
Our prediction: 3 – 0

Enyimba v Kaduna United (Enyimba Sports Stadium)
Midfielder Ayo Saka still remains sidelined with an injury while forward Uche Kalu will be unavailable for this as he is with the national team. Kaduna United won the first game this term through Nasiru Useni’s goal.

The six-time champions may have lost a little bit of steel at their Aba stadium this season, Austin Eguavoen will send out his troops to get all the points in order to stay within touching distance of leaders, Rangers.
Our prediction: 3 – 1

Warri Wolves v Ocean Boys (Warri City Stadium)
For 2006 champions, Ocean Boys it is looking like their status in the top flight is nearing its end as they have battled in vain to climb out of the bottom four from the outset of this season. Surprisingly Ocean Boys have never lost a game in the Premier League to Wolves but that clean sheet now looks threatened.

Maurice Cooreman, who was livid with his men for losing out of the Caf Confederation Cup, will have to plan his team without Azubuike Egwuekwe, Sunday Mbah, Uche Ossai and goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim, who are with the Super Eagles. Wolves should get their first win over Ocean Boys irrespective of the absence of their top stars.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Enugu Rangers v Rising Stars (Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium)
In their last three games at home, Rangers scored ten and did not concede including a 5 – 0 thumping of struggling Jigawa Stars. On the other hand, Rising Stars have lost all six road trips and will face a torrid time from the Flying Antelopes even in the absence of winger Ejike Uzoenyi.

It is difficult to see where the goals will come from for Rising Stars compared to Rangers with the leading scorer in Chikeluba Ofoedu, Efe Yarhere, Ifeanyi Ede and Oghogho Oduokpe. If Rising Stars decide to take a go at Rangers without putting men behind the ball, then expect the hosts to carve them open and rip them apart.
Our prediction: 4 – 0

*In the previous matchday, The Predictor did not record any EXACT score but got FIVE results correct out of seven games that took place last Saturday and Sunday.

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