Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Predictor’s Matchday 37 preview

The Predictor
The potential title clash in Katsina-Ala between Enugu Rangers and Lobi Stars is the talk of Matchday 37 of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL). Whatever the outcome, this season's winners will still be decided on the final day.

There will be a live game on SuperSport 9 on Wednesday from 4pm local time (5pm CAT) as 3SC continue their push for a continental slot in Warri. Here's the full preview for this matchday:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Lobi Stars v Enugu Rangers (Emmanuel Atongo Stadium)
This is a title-deciding clash between table-topping Rangers and third-placed Lobi. Just a point separate both teams. Rangers have a mountain to climb as they are yet to win a game at Lobi in nine years.

In the reverse game, Chikeluba Ofoedu's goal earned the leaders a win but in Katsina-Ala, Lobi have been invincible with 3SC being the only side to avoid defeat there. The home team will take this.
My prediction: 2-1

Sharks v Wikki Tourists (Sharks Stadium)
The last time the Tourists won this same fixture was in July 2003 by a goal. After that they have suffered four successive defeats in Port Harcourt including a 1-6 loss in which Victor Ezeji scored four goals in April 2009.

Although Sharks' players are unhappy over unpaid contract fees and bonuses, they will still triumph on the strength of their playing personnel and Wikki's poor form on the road.
My prediction: 2-0

Jigawa Golden Stars v Enyimba (Hadejia Township Stadium)
The season of six-time champions, Enyimba, should be over by the time this game ends. Yes Enyimba won the reverse game in Aba but on the road this term they have won just once and avoided defeat in four games. Poor for a team of their calibre.

Oliver Agbo, Nobel Ansor and Bala Mohammed are the main men for the Golden Stars and it is expected they will put in decent display to see off the People's Elephant in Hadejia.
My prediction: 1-0

Akwa United v Kano Pillars (Uyo Township Stadium)
Title-chasing Kano Pillars are unbeaten in 12 games in league and Cup competitions this term. They are also unbeaten in last five head-to-head top flight meetings against Akwa United including two trips to Uyo.

Mannir Ubale's lone strike gave Pillars all points in the first clash this season. The Promise Keepers have an impressive run at home. Though the away side will miss influential midfielder, Gabriel Reuben, they will avoid defeat in Uyo.
My prediction: 0-0

Niger Tornadoes v Dolphins (Bako Kontagora Stadium)
The title is now out of sight for Dolphins to defend after that 0-2 home loss to Lobi Stars about a fortnight ago. This game presents Dolphins with a chance to push for a top three finish and for Tornadoes, a chance to beat the drop.

Tornadoes may have financial worries but they have been strong at home this term. Dolphins last picked a point in Minna nine years ago in a 2-2 draw. This time, they will leave same town without one.
My prediction: 1-0

ABS FC v Kaduna United (Ilorin Township Stadium)
ABS will give an arm and a leg to win this game. Andrew Abalogu will be the main threat to Kaduna United. Kabir Sulaimon Dogo's team are tipped to do the double on Kaduna United after winning the first game in March.

But Christian Ofili and Abdulrahman Bashir, who scored in that 2-1 win in the first game are unavailable for this tie. Kaduna United do not look like a team that will leave Ilorin undefeated.
My prediction: 2-0

Warri Wolves v 3SC (Warri City Stadium; live on SS9)
Wolves got a point off 3SC in the reverse game. No doubt, Maurice Cooreman's team are favourites to win this game on paper. But they face a 3SC side with Bloggers Player of the Month for July, Moses Ogaga as well as dead-ball specialist, Mutiu Adepoju.

Midfielder Philip Asuquo is away on international duty and 3SC will miss a bit of his creativity in the middle. Wolves' hot-and-cold form this term at home will see them drop points in this game. Catch this game live on SuperSport 9 this Wednesday.
My prediction: 1-1

Ocean Boys v Rising Stars (Samson Siasia Stadium)
Stories of withdrawal, lack of cash and disbanding of their playing personnel have trailed 2006 champions, Ocean Boys in the wake of a turbulent season. There's a huge doubt hovering on this game after Ocean Boys announced their withdrawal from this season's campaign few days ago.

But it will be a clash between the two bottom placed teams and based on current form Rising Stars look well on the way for a first road win.
My prediction: 1-2

Heartland v Gombe United (Dan Anyiam Stadium)
Yes, Cup holders, Heartland have looked rag-tag in the league this season, they got away with a point when they played at Gombe United in the reverse game in that 2-2 draw. In eight visits to Owerri in the past nine years, the Savannah Scorpions have failed to escape defeat.

So will Gombe United be fortunate in their ninth attempt in Owerri without strikers Sanusi Sani (on international duty) and Mustapha Babadidi (long-term injury)? Definitely no.
My prediction: 3-1

*The Predictor got SIX correct results and all SIX were ACTUAL scorelines out of eight games that took place on Matchday 36 of the Premier League.

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