NPFL Matchday 18 Previews: Plateau United seek redemption after Caf Confederation Cup ouster
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The Peace Boys will shift attention Sunday's top-flight fixture with all seriousness after their Caf Confederation Cup exit

Nasarawa United v Abia Warriors

Nasarawa United have lost back to back league fixtures against MFM and Rivers United and are under pressure to record a home win to ensure they remain outside the relegation zone in a season they have really underperformed. 

The Solid Miners are 16th in the league log with 19 points from 17 matches and won their last two home games against Abia Warriors in the last two seasons. They will bank on this as they search for their third straight victory in Lafia against Emmanuel Deutsch’s men. 

Abia Warriors will step into the Lafia Township Stadium brimming with confidence having remained unbeaten in their last seven games. They will, however, be hoping for improved results with only two victories from the said ties.

They are 10th in the league table with 22 points from 17 games but they will be ruing the several points they have lost at home to their inability to convert their chances.

 

Lobi Stars v Kano Pillars

Lobi Stars will move closer to NPFL glory if they beat Kano Pillars at home on Sunday in a tough elite division fixture at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi.

The Pride of Benue have surprised league followers with the results they have posted when they were not even among the top-rated teams at the beginning of the season to have a sniff at the title but they are currently leading their closest rivals, Rivers United by four points.

They will hope to continue their unprecedented start to the season against Sai Masu Gida which has they have recorded 10 points from possible 15 in the last five matches.

Kano Pillars have slowed down in recent weeks after a good beginning and they will desire a positive result in Makurdi to prove to their fans that they have not wavered in their aspirations to win their fifth league title at the end of the season. 

 

Katsina United v El Kanemi Warriors

Katsina United have another fixture on Sunday against El Kanemi Warriors to consolidate on their recent resurgence in the league where they are placed fourth with 24 points from 17 matches.

The Chanji Boys got their second away point of the season when they held Abia Warriors to a draw in Umuahia last weekend and they are favourites to claim another vital home win against Borno Army whom they dismembered 3-0 last season in their first meeting in the top-flight.

El Kanemi Warriors will have an opportunity to start their survival bid with the game with the Abdullahi Biffo’s tutored side on Sunday.

 

Heartland v Plateau United

Heartland new coach, Mehmet Tayfun begins his rescue mission with the Naze Millionaires against Plateau United on Monday and he will be desperate to make a statement in his first official game.

The Turkish has been tasked with ensuring that The Owerri side leave the relegation zone and it will be a difficult call against the Peace Boys who will be eager to record a positive result also.

Plateau United and Kennedy Boboye are on redemption mission to Owerri having just been eliminated from the Caf Confederation Cup. They need a vital positive result to reassure their fans that they are still the same team that emerged as the league champions last season.

The Peace Boys are 12th in the league log with 21 points from 13 matches but if they play their outstanding four matches against Kwara United, Wikki Tourists and Lobi Stars.

 

MFM v Rivers United

MFM sought impossible in Bamako on Wednesday when they faced Djoliba AC of Mali in the Caf Confederation Cup but they bowed out with respect having secured a goalless draw. They, however, return to the league on Monday where Rivers United will be their guests in Lagos.

Based on their home form, the Olukoya Boys should not have any problem beating Rivers United having done that successfully in their previous two seasons in the top-flight but they must start negotiating away points if they are to attain the same level that handed them a continental berth in only their second season in the NPFL.

Rivers United disappointed last season and actually came into the current season in a similar way but their results have appreciated in recent matches and are currently second in the league table with 26 points from 17 games.

Stanley Eguma’s men will be seeking their first points in Lagos against MFM and they will fancy their chances with three wins recorded from their last five games.

 

Wikki Tourists v Enyimba

It will be the battle of two Elephants when Wikki Tourists and Enyimba slug it out at the New Jos Stadium on Sunday in a league fixture.

The Giant Elephants have won their last two home games against Enyimba after their goalless draw of 2015 in Bauchi and they will be seeking their third home win against the People’s Elephant on the trot before their fans. 

Enyimba are going into the tie with only two defeats in 14 matches but they were sluggish against Bidvest Wits of South Africa on Wednesday in their Caf Confederation Cup playoff tie which ended in a goalless draw. They will find it difficult to pick a point against Wikki if they play the same way they did during the midweek continental tie.

 

Kwara United v Go Round

It is the battle of two relegation-haunted teams in Ilorin when Kwara United and Go Round light up the Kwara Sports Complex on Sunday.

The Harmony Boys held Enugu Rangers to a goalless draw in Enugu in their last league game and have not been beaten in their last five games but their albatross is the number of drawn games they have accumulated with only a win and four draws. They are dire in need of a home win against Go Round that will gradually cool off their relegation worries from their 19th spot with 17 points from 16 matches.

Go Round are also hovering around the drop zone because they have been very poor in their away matches where they have lost all to date. They have a golden chance to erase that unwanted record when they face the Harmony Boys who will leapfrog them if they lose in Ilorin.

 

Niger Tornadoes v Yobe Desert Stars

Niger Tornadoes have been unimpregnable under coach Hamza Abara and against Yobe Desert Stars on Sunday at the Bako Kotangora Stadium, Minna they will be seeking their eighth game unbeaten.

It would definitely be hard for the fans of the Ikon Allah Boys to remember that almost two months ago they were in the relegation but under Abara they have been transformed and are presently fifth in the league table with 24 points from 16 games.

Yobe Stars have always been hard to hard to beat save for their games with Enugu Rangers and Nasarawa United where they thrashed 3-0 each. They are eighth in the league log with 23 points from 16 fixtures.
 

FC IfeanyiUbah v Enugu Rangers

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Two bothers-FC IfeanyiUbah and Enugu Rangers will take to the pitch on Sunday to determine where the pendulum will swing in the latest Oriental Derby at the Ifeanyi Ubah Stadium, Nnewi.

The Anambra Warriors will go above the Flying Antelopes in the league table if they pick the maximum points on Sunday in Nnewi. It will enable Bosso and his men to gradually find their way into the top three which could guarantee them a place in the continent at the end of the season if they are consistent.

Enugu Rangers have flattered to perform since they named Gbenga Ogunbote as coach at the beginning of the season. They are yet to win an away game after 16 games and have not turned the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium into a fortress like it was three seasons ago when they won their seventh league title.

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Heartland
Plateau United Plateau United
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