Thursday, June 07, 2012

The Predictor’s Week 24 preview

All Matchday 24 games in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) will hold this Thursday owing to the three-day national mourning of victims in the deadly air crash in Lagos on Sunday.

The game between Sharks and Enyimba will kick off early from 2pm local time (3pm CAT) while eight other games will be played two hours later.

The NPL has called off the tie between Ocean Boys and Sunshine Stars saying that the former were involved in a road accident on Tuesday. Here's a full preview for the rescheduled matchday:

Thursday, June 7, 2012
ABS v Heartland (Ilorin Township Stadium)
Last season in this same game, ABS defeated Heartland 1 – 0 but the Cup holders won the first meeting this season 2 – 1 in Owerri. Heartland have lost just a game – at Rising Stars – in their last five outings, which highlights their run of no wins on the road in three years since beating Sunshine Stars 1 – 0 in Akure in November 2008.

ABS have peaked winning their last two home games against Wikki Tourists and Akwa United. Heartland will have to be wary of the in-form Abdulrahman Bashir. ABS will just nick this one.
Our prediction: 2 – 1

Rising Stars v 3SC (Oluyemi Kayode Stadium)
The first clash in Ibadan surprisingly ended goalless. 3SC are one of the two best sides in the top flight in the last five rounds going five games unbeaten. Rising Stars have been unable to end their inconsistent run which has left them second from bottom.

The new signings at 3SC have seamlessly adapted into the team’s style and it is evident in their approach to matches. This game will be a tight contest as the Oluyole Warriors are capable of leaving Ado-Ekiti with a point.
Our prediction: 1 – 1

Niger Tornadoes v Gombe United (Bako Kontagora Stadium)
Tornadoes are the other side with an unbeaten streak of five games compared to Gombe United who have lost their last two games to Sunshine Stars and Kwara United. Gombe United won the reverse game 3 – 1 with Mustapha Babadidi scoring all three goals. But the striker has been out injured since March.

Tornadoes have hit a rich vein of form and it will be impossible for Gombe United to deny them a win in Minna.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Sharks v Enyimba (Sharks Stadium)
Uche Agbo and Josiah Maduabuchi got the goals that won the first game in Aba for Enyimba. The People’s Elephants last won at Sharks in 2009 by 3 – 2 and have taken two draws away from Port Harcourt on two occasions since 2003.

The Blue Angels have not lost at home in their last five games which has seen improvement in the form of players like Gomo Onduku, Bright Ejike and Victor Ezeji. Enyimba will parade a strong squad as usual though without Uche Kalu and Henry Uche, both still in the camp of the Super Eagles. But Sharks will win this.
Our prediction: 2 – 1

Kano Pillars v Wikki Tourists (Sani Abacha Stadium)
In eight visits to Kano since February 2003, Wikki Tourists have avoided defeat just once in March 2004 when this same fixture ended 2 – 2. In May 2006, the Tourists suffered their worst defeat in Kano losing 0 – 4. In the reverse fixture this term, it was Tunde Aremu’s lone strike that handed Wikki the points.

It is expected that Wikki with a dismal form on the road that has brought about just a point in 14 away games will be in for a busy afternoon in Kano. Expect Gambo Mohammed, Mannir Ubale, Rabiu Ali, Nasiru Ali and co to be among the goals as Kano Pillars will be in the mood for a high-scoring victory.
Our prediction: 3 – 0

Kaduna United v Enugu Rangers (Kaduna Township Stadium)
The Crocodiles begin this game in the bottom four position and will be keen to start winning after two defeats on the road to Niger Tornadoes and Enyimba. Table-topping Rangers are also on a run of two losses and another defeat in Kaduna could see them surrender their lead in the standings. In their last four trips to Kaduna, Rangers have avoided defeat just once and lost the other three games by similar 1 – 0 scorelines.

The Flying Antelopes are beginning to show signs of frailty as they have not scored in their last three games on the road. It is looking like Okey Emordi’s men will suffer their third defeat on the bounce when they face Kaduna United.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

Dolphins v Kwara United (Liberation Stadium)
Despite their inconsistent results of late, champions Dolphins have stayed within touching distance of the leaders, and now have the chance to close the gap on the top four – Enugu Rangers, Enyimba, Kano Pillars and Warri Wolves – in that order. Dolphins go into this tie as favourites as Kwara United have not won against them in Port Harcourt in the past nine years including a 1 – 0 win for the hosts last season in this same game.

Kwara United’s impressive form guide of just a loss in their last four games will count for nothing as it is expected that Stanley Eguma’s men will get the job done.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Jigawa Golden Stars v Akwa United (Hadejia Township Stadium)
The Golden Stars have gone four games unbeaten and are now confident of survival. They beat Akwa United 1 – 0 the last time both teams met in this same game in 2008 but this season when both sides clashed, Akwa United won by a goal.

Jigawa Stars may be languishing in the bottom four of the table but they will beat The Promise Keepers in this game in Hadejia.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Lobi Stars v Warri Wolves (Emmanuel Atongo Stadium)
Wolves have since shaken off their shock exit from the continent and have climbed into the top four. But for a talented side like Wolves they are yet win on the road this term and they face Lobi Stars who have won their last five home games conceding just once.

Lobi Stars have made the stadium in Katsina-Ala a difficult place to visit this term and players like David Tyavkase, Tony Okpotu, Jonah Abutu and Hilary Chukwu are waiting to pounce on the Wolves.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

*The Predictor (pictured) got an improved rating on Matchday 30 by correctly forecasting EIGHT games including THREE actual scores.

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