November, 11 2023.
.3SC Battles Kwara Utd.In Epic Clash of Warriors
Doma United FC of Gombe lived up to their billing, by piping Akwa United of Uyo 1-0 in the only 2023/24 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) game, played on Saturday.
Nelson Abiam scored the match winner as early as the 18th minute, of the face-off at the Pantami Stadium; www.ckdmedia.ng reports.
The victory took the tally of the Savannah Tigers, who are with a game in hand against Enyimba of Aba to 11 points, and from 15th to 7th on the log; while defeated Akwa United and their under-fire head coach, Fatai Osho will have to leak their wounds, while remaining 17th in the table with 7 points, from eight (8) matches, played so far this season.
The encounters in Kano and Ilorin; between Kano Pillars and defending champions, Enyimba FC of Aba; and that in Ilorin between Kwara United and Shooting Stars Sports Club 3SC of Ibadan; are arguably the stand-out fixtures, of the eight match-day 8 fixtures of the 2023/24 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), on the card today (Sunday).
Most eyes and ears will be focused on the Sani Abacha Stadium, in Kofarmata, where four-time NPFL champions, Kano Pillars will host Enyimba Int'l, in a game neither of the two stuttering sides this season, can afford to lose.
Pillars has been a yo-yo club this season; but despite losing heavily to Rangers (1-4) and Sporting FC (0-3) in their last two travels; the Sai-Masugida have been imperious at home, when playing in front of their vociferous home fans.
On the other hand, it is too early to conclude that the Aba People’s Elephant has turned a corner, after a slow start to their season, domestically and on the continent. The team secured maximum points against Kwara United last weekend in Aba, but they needed a Chijioke Mbaoma conversion from 12 yards to beat Kwara United.
Having returned to Ilorin empty-handed, the Afonja Warriors will hope to return to winning ways by defeating 3SC, at the Ilorin Sports Complex.
Only last Sunday, the Oluyole Warriors scored three times in the second half to trounce Niger Tornadoes of Minna 3-1, at the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, in Adamasingba; and this fixture pits two of the most respected managers in the land, Gbenga Ogunbote (3SC) against Kabiru Dogo (Kwara United) against each other.
After settling for a goalless draw away to Doma United FC in Gombe, Bendel Insurance will be out to recoup the points dropped recently, including the two dropped in their home game against Akwa United; when they travel to Kaduna to face Niger Tornadoes of Minna.
Tornadoes suffered a 3-1 loss to Shooting Stars on Day 7, and the Ikon Allah Boys know they will have to do extra work to unsettle the backline of the Benin Arsenal, marshalled by Benjamin Tanimu and goalkeeper Amas Obasogie.
Meanwhile, table topper Lobi Stars of Makurdi welcomes Sporting FC of Lagos on Sunday, and will be buoyed going into the encounter, having already won all of their previous games, at their adopted home, in Lafia.
Lobi Stars can again bank on their revelation of the season, Samuel Tiza Terwuese who scored both goals in the Father Boys 2-1 victory over Bayelsa United, in Yenogoa; but Sporting FC with former league top scorer, Junior Lokossa who scored twice against his former club, Kano Pillars should have Tiza's match.
Having said that, another player the Lobi Stars back-four must not allow plenty of room, is Lokossa's strike partner Jonathan Alukwu, who has scored four times, in the last four matches.
After the frustrations in Port Harcourt last week, Sunshine Stars will hope to build on their performances, and the away draw against Rivers United; when hosting Rangers Int'l in Akure.
The Akure Gunners were on the brink of securing a rare away win, but surrendered their lead in the final minute of added time of the game, at the Adokieye Amasiamaka, Stadium.
The Flying Antelope led this term by Fidelis Ilechukwu, comfortably defeated Oriental arch-rivals, Heartland FC of Owerri in Awka; but must be on guard against Edith Agoye and his men.
Elsewhere, Rivers United knows they must improve their play, in both boxes if they are to survive the onslaught of Katsina United, at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium, in the North-West.
Alex Oyowah who netted the equaliser against Sunshine Stars has remained the saviour of the Pride of Rivers, in the last 3 matches; but their is no better time than now, for the duo of Andy Okpe and captain Nyima Nwagua to hit their strides.
In Ikenne-Remo, Remo Stars will hope to rebound from the defeat in Benin, to Insurance, when hosting Gombe United FC.
Gombe United has been poor travellers, this season; having conceded three times, in their last visit against Shooting Stars.
To get the job done, the Sky Blues will bank on Adams Olamikan and Sikiru Alimi who has five goals to his name, so far this season.
After holding Akwa United to a goalless draw in Eket on Sunday, Plateau United will host Abia Warriors at their New Jos Stadium, knowing that they can again count on Ibrahim Dehinde, who netted a brace on Day-6 at home to Katsina United, to add to his personal tally.
Doma United 1- 0 Akwa United
Kano Pillars vs Enyimba International
Kwara United vs Shooting Stars
Katsina United vs Rivers United
Plateau United vs Abia Warriors
Remo Stars vs Gombe United
Niger Tornadoes vs Bendel Insurance
Lobi Stars vs Sporting Lagos
Sunshine Stars vs Rangers International.
Bayelsa United vs Heartland FC of Owerri