Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Predictor previews Abia Derby

The Predictor
It is derby day in the city of Abia where Nigerian giants, Enyimba, go up against rivals, Abia Warriors, in the Glo Premier League this Sunday.
The Abia Derby is live on SuperSport 7N and SuperSport Select from 5pm CAT [4pm Nigerian time].

I do not see any bigger game than that derby though some enthusiasts will feel the games in Akure and Warri deserve mentions as top notch meetings.

Sunday, August 17, 2014
Abia Warriors v Enyimba [Umuahia Township Stadium]
Abia Warriors may have pulled off what to me still remains the biggest upset of the campaign when they won 1-0 in Aba, but I still refuse to write off Enyimba going into this contest. The arrival of Kadiri Ikhana in mid-season has added discipline in the way Enyimba have gone about their game in the second.

For this clash, I am expecting a situation where both teams will keep things tight and simple, and wait for who blinks first. I just feel Enyimba have enough quality to edge this by the odd goal.

My prediction: 0-1

Bayelsa United v Kaduna United [Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium]
Two teams in the bottom-four of the standings go head to head in a six-pointer game. Kaduna United claimed the full points when both teams first met in April with a 2-0 win, thanks to a brace of goals from Isah Aminu. This time Aminu will not be part of this game as he is now with Heartland.

Bayelsa United have had a very poor run in their last 10 league matches, but I think they will respond against an equally poor Kaduna United who have failed to score or pick a point on the road so far this season.

My prediction: 1-0

Sunshine Stars v Dolphins [Akure Township Stadium]
This is definitely one of the big games of this match day. Dolphins have played themselves into a position to contest for the title and I think they have a decent squad to push all the way till the last day of the campaign.

Sunshine Stars may have overran the champions, Kano Pillars, by three-nil in Akure recently. However, I do not think they will enjoy same time and space against Dolphins. I expect Dolphins winger, Emem Eduok, to trouble their back four with his darting runs. I still think the Akure Gunners will win the full points but they will work real hard for it.

My prediction: 2-1

Warri Wolves v Kano Pillars [Warri City Stadium]
Paul Aigbogun's team are still far from impressive but they have squeezed results in their last two home matches with similar scorelines of 1-0. Pillars know they cannot afford another slip-up like they did at Sunshine Stars seven days ago.

After missing the games against Rangers and Sunshine Stars, the champions have their captain and first-choice goalkeeper, Theophilus Afelokhai, back in the squad for the trip to Warri. With Wolves still struggling to score from open play, I think a draw looks on the card in this match.

My prediction: 0-0

Lobi Stars v Nasarawa United [Emmanuel Atongo Stadium]
Nasarawa United have continued to show that their impressive start to the season is no fluke after all as they have remained among the top-four for so long this season in the division. Lobi have not done badly since the start of the second round until they had their 100 per cent run snapped at Gombe United with a 3-1 loss.

The Solid Miners won the reverse fixture two-nil. This time I am expecting Nasarawa United manager, Baba Ganaru, to deploy his men to the usual style of playing very narrow and soaking the pressure while looking to hit Lobi on the offence. I think this might not pay off this time.

My prediction: 1-0

Akwa United vs El-Kanemi Warriors [Uyo Township Stadium]
It is quite interesting that Akwa United got a 1-1 draw at El-Kanemi in the first meeting, and that when the going was good for the Uyo club at the start of the season. Like most of the teams in the premier division, El-Kanemi have been poor on the road taking just two points from 11 away matches.

Akwa United have that goal threat in their fold with the like of Nnamso Edo, Godspower Aniefiok, Ezekiel Bassey, Ini Akpan and Kufre Ebong all capable of scoring. I think this will be a case of El-Kanemi showing their poor form when they travel to the south. Akwa United will win but it will be a tough game.

My prediction: 1-0

Heartland v Gombe United [Dan Anyiam Stadium]
Austin Eguavoen appears to have turned things around at Gombe United and they are now playing with real belief. Heartland lost the first clash of this contest 1-2 with Gombe United's goals from Usman Suleman and Adamu Mohammed cancelling out Bright Ejike's strike.

Gombe United do have a very poor record at Heartland in the Premier League era in which they have lost all 10 visits including a 0-4 reverse last season. I see Eguavoen's men having a decent outing but Heartland will keep their impressive record against Gombe United going.

My prediction: 2-1

Enugu Rangers v Giwa FC [Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium]
The last time I can remember Rangers struggle this much in a campaign was in 2008 though this time it looks far worse than then. Rangers sit in a precarious position in the standings, as they are on place above the drop zone.

The Flying Antelopes lost at Giwa FC in the reverse fixture in April but I do not see them threatening Rangers this time. I am tipping one man, Osaguona Ighodaro, to get among the goals for Rangers.

My prediction: 2-0

FC Taraba v Nembe City [Jolly Nyame Stadium]
John Eze was the hero for City in the first-ever top flight clash between the two teams. I do not know where can conjure up a steely defence and goals from considering that they have only scored once and shipped in 25 in 10 away matches.

I am sure Fidelis Saviour, who has scored fours goals in FC Taraba's last three home matches, will be waiting to pounce and compound City's woes. Unfortunately I am backing FC Taraba to dump City who will remain bottom once more.

My prediction: 2-0

Crown FC v Sharks [Lekan Salami Stadium]
Lawrence Akpokona is expected to return to the dugout for Crown FC after his suspension is lifted. After four games in the second round, Crown have lost against Bayelsa United, Lobi Stars, Heartland and Dolphins and are yet to score in 360 minutes of football.

On the other hand, Sharks are yet to come up with that first round form, but they have a 100 per cent record in the top flight against Crown including winning the reverse game 3-0 with Danladi Isah, Ifeanyi Inyam and Frederick Obomate getting the goals. I think Crown will end Sharks' dominance over them.

My prediction: 2-1

•The Predictor improved on the number of correct results by claiming eight out of 10 including just one perfect.

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