Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Predictor's Week 35 preview

The Nigeria Premier League (NPL) enters home stretch with the title contenders in big battles to stay in the hunt. Ibadan, Kano and Katsina-Ala will be the focal point this Sunday when Matchday 35 take place.

There are two dogfights in the lower half of the standings and one live game on SuperSport 9 in Ibadan from 4pm local time (5pm CAT) this Sunday.

Sunday, July 29, 2012
3SC v Enugu Rangers (Lekan Salami Stadium; live on SS9)
Okey Emordi's team will need to shake off the disappointment of their Cup display to keep alive their title charge in the league. 3SC are seeking their first top flight win over traditional rivals, Rangers in seven years - as they last won in this game in March 2005 by 1-0.

Rangers will face a full strength 3SC with the trio of Morenikeji Akanbi, Olabisi Samuel and Gabriel Adikwu set for return. The Oluyole Warriors will put a dent on Rangers' ambition.
My prediction: 2-1

Jigawa Golden Stars v ABS FC (Hadejia Township Stadium)
This is a dogfight in Hadejia as ABS are six points above the drop zone. In the first meeting, ABS won 3-0 with Andrew Abalogu scoring a double and Audu Akeem completing the rout.

But this second top flight clash between both sides will be tough for the away side, as the influential Abalogu will be unavailable. The Golden Stars have enough quality in Nobel Ansor, John Paul and Bala Mohammed to edge this.
My prediction: 1-0

Rising Stars v Kwara United (Kayode Oluyemi Stadium)
Kwara United have recalled suspended coach, Tunde Sanni ahead of the trip to Ado-Ekiti to face struggling Rising Stars. In the reverse game, Kabiru Sanusi and Barnabas Imenger scored to hand Kwara United the points.

Rising Stars, though will miss striker Adamu Yahaya, will be pushing for the full points as they are 14 points below survival.
My prediction: 1-0

Sharks v Heartland (Sharks Stadium)
It is expected that Sharks should do a double over Cup holders, Heartland this weekend after the first game ended 1-0 with Gomo Onduku getting the winner.

But Onduku is doubtful for this clash as he is still out after suffering an injury in their Cup game against Lobi Stars last week. Heartland won't commit so much into this tie while the Blue Angels will want to give their coach Imama Amapakabor a fitting birthday gift.
My prediction: 2-1

Akwa United v Enyimba (Uyo Township Stadium)
Enyimba's season appears to have crumbled before their own eyes following their Cup exit in the hands of Prime FC, the resignation of head coach, Augustine Eguavoen and slashing of players' wages. The Promise Keepers will add to the woes of the People's Elephant.

The two-time African champions failed to win the first clash and now head to Uyo in disarray, and will drop out of the top four this Sunday.
My prediction: 2-0

Lobi Stars v Niger Tornadoes (Emmanuel Atongo Stadium)
John Zaki's team are the in-form side of the top flight. They've won five in five in all competitions and playing at home to 14th placed Tornadoes looks like a stroll in the park.

Though they have leading scorer, Sibi Gwar, Tornadoes have lost six times in eight trips to Lobi and this time, they do not look like a side that will threaten their hosts, who are now in the hunt for the league title.
My prediction: 2-0

Warri Wolves v Sunshine Stars (Warri City Stadium)
In the reverse game in Ijebu-Ode in April, it ended 1-1. But both sides have put up poor performances which have seen them struggle to stay in the top four. The two clubs will be locked in a fight to climb closer to at least a club continental ticket.

Wolves might be without left-back Mine Ojo, who has head injuries, but will claim the points. Sunshine Stars will have a full team but with an eye on the Caf Champions League.
My prediction: 2-1

Kano Pillars v Dolphins (Sani Abacha Stadium)
Title holders, Dolphins head to Kano knowing that they have only mustered a draw there in six visits since August 2003. Yes the champions won the reverse game 1-0 but it will be Kano Pillars, now on a run of 12 unbeaten games in Cup and league competitions, that will have the edge.

Pillars are so strong in this home stretch of the season and it will take more than just good fortune for Dolphins to leave Kano with a point.
My prediction: 2-0

Ocean Boys v Kaduna United (Samson Siasia Stadium)
This is a relegation six-pointer and Ocean Boys already look out of sorts before this game. The 2006 champions are 19 points from survival and look relegated. Kaduna United, which won the first 1-0 in April this year, will fancy leaving Yenagoa with a
My prediction: 1-1

Wikki Tourists v Gombe United (Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium)
Timothy Simon's goal secured full points for the Savannah Scorpions in the first game over Tourists. The Tourists have failed to win at home three times this season and Gombe United will have a huge task on their hands in avoiding defeat in Bauchi.

Ladan Bosso's Tourists have lost just once in their last five head-to-head top flight clash with their northern neighbours - a 0-1 loss in June 2007. It will be difficult to deny Wikki the full points in this tie.
My prediction: 1-0

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