April 28, 2017

NPFL Match Day 35: Enugu Rangers looking to maintain top spot

The Flying Antelopes will remain atop the Nigeria topflight log when they face the Oluyole Warriors at the Lekan Salami Stadium

Shooting Stars Vs Enugu Rangers

After an intense week of training in Ibadan, Shooting Stars are looking to put their practice into action on Saturday when they take on Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) leaders Enugu Rangers in a match day 35 clash at the Lekan Salami Stadium.

This is a war of great significance to the ambition of the Oluyole Warriors and the Flying Antelopes.

One team is battling to beat the drop, while the other is looking to end a 32-year wait for a league title.

Fixtures involving the two rivals in the past usually attracts die hard football lovers, whether in Ibadan or Enugu.

Shooting Stars and Rangers have met on 13 occasions since 12 March 2005, with the Flying Antelopes winning seven and losing three.

The most recent meetings between the pair was earlier in the current campaign, when Shooting Stars forced Rangers to a 1-1 draw in Enugu.

Saturday’s match kicks off at 16h00 at the Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan which has a capacity of just over 17,000 spectators.

Rivers United Vs Warri Wolves

Yakubu Gowon Stadium will be the venue as Rivers United face Warri Wolves in a match day 35 Nigeria Professional Football League clash on Saturday.

This will be the 33rd game of the season for both teams as they seek to perfect their run in the business end of the season.

Rivers United were pummeled 4-0 by title rivals Enugu Rangers last weekend.

Wolves on the other hand is coming from a winning weekend after edging Nasarawa United by a solitary goal.

A win could therefore send Rivers United to the summit of the league table.

The Seasiders are placed 15th on the standings with 39 points. This will be an encouraging point for the team that needs to win to get far from the relegation battle. A win could send them to the 14th position.

Niger Tornadoes Vs Enyimba FC

Lokoja football fans will be headed to the Confluence Stadium to witness action as Niger Tornadoes take on Enyimba FC.

The result of the match will be critical to both teams as they seek to better their lots on the standing just a few matches to the end of the season.

A win for either of the teams will see them leap from their respective positions.

The last encounter between the Ikon Allah Boys and the People’s Elephants was at the Umuahia Township Stadium with hosts Enyimba winning 2-1.

Ikorodu United Vs Kano Pillars

Ikorodu United, slayers of Heartland FC will host Kano Pillars.

The game will be played on Saturday at the Gateway Stadium in Abeokuta.

Going into the match, Ikorodu United are placed 19th with 26 points.

Pillars sits seventh with 48 points and a win will see the team improve their position in the table.

Ahead of the tie, Ikorodu United will be seeking just their sixth win of the season.

Pillars have won 14 of their 32 games but will be under pressure from their demanding fans to collect maximum points.

The Oga Boys under coach Theodore De Jong are expected to stretch Pillars to the limit.

Pillars boasts of a galaxy of talented players. They include Goalkeeper Yusuf Mohammed, Jamiu Alimi, Joel Djondang, Chris Madaki and Bala Zakka at the back line. Mohammed Shagari and Rabiu Ali will man the midfield with Amos Gyang and Gambo Mohammed going upfront for goals.

De Jong will unleash probably the same team that caused an upset at Heartland at the Dan Anyiam Stadium. Abeokuta fans will watch the likes of Shedrack Francis, Adamu Azeez, Moses Ebiye, Onyelonu Chinedu, Abdullahi Fatai, Kabir Balogun and Paul Duke in Ikorodu United’s starting line up.

El-Kanemi Warriors Vs Heartland FC

Heartland FC will look to return to winning ways in when they keep a date with El-Kanemi Warriors.

The Naze Millionaires surprisingly lost 1-0 at home to Ikorodu United last weekend.

Ladan Bosso’s Warriors are confident of avenging a 2-1 loss suffered in the hands of Heartland last time out in Owerri during the reverse fixture.

With seven points above the drop zone, a win for Warriors on Saturday could make them keep their top flight status.

In head-to-head stats, El-Kanemi Warriors and Heartland have met in seven league matches since 2013. Heartland have three wins compared to two for Warriors, while two matches have been drawn.

FC Ifeanyi Ubah Vs Akwa United

It feels like just yesterday that Akwa United humbled FC Ifeanyi Ubah 2-0 at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium.

FC Ifeanyi Ubah however will come into this game with the highest confidence and their form at peak, having drew 1-1 against Abia Warriors at midweek.

Alberico Da Silva surely will be out to prove his worth during this game.

Hassan Babangida was a revelation for the Promise Keepers in their encounter at home to MFM FC and he is sure to haunt the Anambra Warriors.

This tie is expected to be a thriller, but fans should not expect another victory for Akwa United.

MFM FC Vs Lobi Stars

It will be a disaster if MFM FC fail to account for the scalp of Lobi Stars in what promises to be an intriguing affair at the Agege Stadium.

With the relegation of Ikorodu United almost confirmed, Lagos fans won’t want another prospect MFM FC to drown to the Nigeria National League.

Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu is expected to unleash his full arsenal on the Pride of Benue.

The Olukoya Boys haven’t gotten it right in terms of converting begging chances in recent games, with the quartet of Stephen Odey, Sikiru Olatunbosun, Musa Newman and Isa Akor all failing to deliver when it mattered most.

How Ilechukwu tries to motivate a team winless in the last seven matches and lacking in confidence remains a riddle.

Fans of Lobi Stars haven’t lost hope in the team’s quest to qualify for the CAF Champions League or Confederation Cup.

Five points separate Lobi Stars and leaders Enugu Rangers.

It could be a reality if the Godwin Koko Uwua-led side tries to win it’s remaining games of the season.

A team with 14 points from their eight previous matches is a decent outfit that should be taken seriously.

It is a tough one to predict but a draw should be the final outcome of the duel.