Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Predictor picks Bayelsa, Pillars tie

After two major upsets in the Cup in mid-week, I don't think there's a bigger game for Matchday 22 of the Glo Premier League than the clash between fifth-placed Bayelsa United and table-topping Kano Pillars.

No doubt, a lot of people will fancy 3SC versus Dolphins, Sunshine Stars versus Kwara United or even Heartland versus Warri Wolves. But the clash of two teams in the top-five standings is certainly eye-catching.

And there is the dogfight in Uyo which will interest fans of Akwa United and Lobi Stars.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bayelsa United v Kano Pillars (Samson Siasia Stadium)

The champions, Kano Pillars, won the reverse game this season with a Bello Musa Kofarmata goal. But Bayelsa United have maintained a superior form whenever they played hosts to the Kano club - winning all four previous head-to-head meetings of this corresponding fixture.

This season, Pillars have taken two points in three trips to south-south teams but without their chief orchestra, Rabiu Ali, in this match, I doubt they will leave Yenagoa with a point.

My prediction: 2 – 0

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Akwa United v Lobi Stars (Uyo Township Stadium)

Both teams are in the bottom four and are battling for survival. Now I can call this a six-pointer. Lobi won the first clash 2-1 in Katsina-Ala but have struggled lately including a 3-4 home loss to Bayelsa United.

Lobi go into this game with doubts over Moses Bunde and Benedict Atule and won't have Ezekiel Bassey as well. But I'm sure that's enough to write off the Makurdi club.

My prediction: 1 – 1

3SC v Dolphins (Lekan Salami Stadium)

It looks like a good time for Dolphins to face 3SC, who have put their head coach, Akeem Busari, under pressure with an ultimatum. 3SC will also be without influential midfielder, Philip Asuquo. Dolphins, who were bundled out of the Cup in mid-week, are on a three-game unbeaten run in the league.

It's going to be a cagey game. 3SC will dominate as usual but I fancy Dolphins taking a point away from Ibadan this Sunday.

My prediction: 0 – 0

ABS v Gombe United (Kwara State Stadium)

Gombe United are not the same team that faced ABS in the first game after the departure of Austin Ekpoma and their leading scorer, Bishop Onyeudo. ABS have their worries though and one of them includes Abdulrahman Bashir's drop in conversion of chances this term.

Despite that headache I won't expect ABS to fold and drop points in this game as they sit above the drop zone with just a better goal difference.

My prediction: 2-1

Sunshine Stars v Kwara United (Akure Township Stadium)

Sunshine Stars are yet to win a league game against Kwara United since January 2011 but actually did enough to earn a point in Ilorin in the reverse game this season. Samson Unuanel will definitely want to keep his team's unbeaten streak going after their five games without a loss.

Kwara United striker, Adamu Yahaya, who turned 20 this week, will come up against his old team and will be spurred on to perform. I expect both teams to cancel themselves out in this tie.

My prediction: 0 – 0

Sharks v Kaduna United (Sharks Stadium)

The Blue Angels surely will fancy their chances of climbing out of the bottom of the standings for the first time in eight matchdays on the spin. But the Crocodiles make this trip with some new men like Emeka Akueme, Siman Yusuf, Brown Banini, Monday Panemaras and Yusuf Bature in a bid to win their first point on the road.

All season, Sharks have shown they are not a high-scoring side. The last time they scored two goals in a league was two months, 22 days against Bayelsa United. An odd goal will settle this as a contest.

My prediction: 1 – 0

Heartland v Warri Wolves (Dan Anyiam Stadium)

Wolves have failed to win a Premier League game against Cup holders, Heartland in three years, eight months including the reverse game of this season that ended 1-1 in Warri in March this year.

The Warri club will be without Oghenekaro Etebo (on international duty) but seem to have soldiered on without him in their last two games, earning four points. The Naze Millionaires have managed just three points from their last five matches but I'll go for them ending Wolves' unbeaten run.

My prediction: 2 – 0

Enugu Rangers v Nembe City (Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium)

The double over City looks certain for Rangers and that should lift them up into the top six depending on other results involving teams in the top-eight positions. Nembe City have lost a number of key playing personnel but still have Vincent Kipu Pere, Jonny Austin, Dafe Omonigho, Jonathan Zikiye and goalkeeper Japhet Opubo.

I'm unsure City will leave Enugu with something to cheer from this encounter.

My prediction: 3 – 0

Nasarawa United v Enyimba (Lafia Township Stadium)

Enyimba are yet to concede in 270 minutes of league football and have won all three previous matches. But a trip to Nasarawa provides them with a big task as they've failed to score in their last two trips to Lafia - losing with identical scorelines of 0 – 1.

For this game, I know Alphonsus Dike will restore his home style of a two-man strike partnership. But the battle will definitely be in the middle and Salisu Yusuf surely has the personnel to secure a point from this game.

My prediction: 0 – 0

Wikki Tourists v El-Kanemi Warriors (Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium)

This is a northern derby in which both teams fired blanks in the first game. The Tourists have won all previous five home games and will throw in everything to seal a win as they look to beat the drop this term.

The Warriors have some talents in Raphael Boumsong, Ezekiel Thompson, Shehu Abdullahi and Ebube Okpokwu going forward but I don't think they will usurp Wikki for the full points.

My prediction: 1 – 0

 *The Predictor notched up eight correct scores but with no exact results.

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