NPFL WEEK 35: Previewing 3 Big Games To Watch Out For

By Promix Blue

Action returns to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) this weekend after the Aiteo Cup Round of 64 matches took centre stage in midweek.

Rivers United, who were dumped out of the oldest Cup competition in Nigeria by J. Atete FC face a tricky home clash against seven-time champions Enyimba, who were also knocked out of the competition by ABS FC.

Elsewhere, Akwa United are in search of their second away win of the campaign as they visit big-spenders Ifeanyi Ubah, while Plateau United’s pursuit of their first league title sees them confront ABS FC.

Enjoy as we look at some of the top matches this weekend.

ABS FC VS PLATEAU UNITED
Plateau United remain in the box seat for the 2016/17 NPFL title and they could make things clearer when they visit 18th-placed ABS FC on Sunday.

Kenedy Boboye’s men are the form team in the league at present – as they are unbeaten in their last five games and if they continue in the same vein, a trip to Ilorin – will be a nightmare fixture for the Harmony Boys.

Boboye’s move to the Rwang Pam stadium has transformed the Peace Boys from mid-table outfit to champions-elect and he would be aiming to cap up the campaign with his first major trophy as a manager.

For ABS, their survival hope was dealt a huge blow last time out as they lost 3-0 to Enyimba. Even though they got their revenge three days later in the Cup by eliminating the People’s Elephant, the priority still remains maintaining their spot in the league.

Key Stat: Plateau United have picked up points in nine of their 17 away games this season.

RIVERS UNITED VS ENYIMBA
Two teams who were knocked out of the Aiteo Cup in midweek, Rivers United and Enyimba go neck-to-neck this weekend in the league.

Following Enyimba’s 3-0 victory over ABS FC last time out and their away draw against MFM, they are fourth and just two points behind second-placed MFM in the battle for a CAF Champions League spot.

For Rivers United, they will head into this game seeking to redress their poor campaign and this game is one of the handful of matches key to their hopes of positively reshaping their campaign after being eliminated by a third-tier side in the Aiteo Cup on Wednesday.

Enyimba won the first leg courtesy Mfon Udoh’s second-half penalty.

IFEANYI UBAH VS AKWA UNITED
With four games remaining and a four-point deficit in the race for the top four, FC Ifeanyi Ubah knows that they have little time to close the gap on Elkanemi Warriors, Enyimba and Sunday’s opponent Akwa United.

The Anambra Warriors lost 2-0 to direct rivals ElKanemi Warriors on Monday and dropping points in this game will mean coach Yaw Preko is not leaving up to the expectations of the club’s owner and management, who gave him the target of finishing in the top four and cementing their position on the continent after winning the FA Cup last year.

Their opponent Akwa United have improved tremendously since the arrivals of coach Abdul Maikaba, goalkeeper Ojo Olorunleke and attacker Alhassan Ibrahim. Expect a shake up in Anambra if they falter in this game.

FIXTURES
Rangers vs Katsina United
Wikki Tourist vs Remo Stars
Rivers United vs Enyimba
ABS FC vs Plateau United
MFM FC vs Gombe United
Kano Pillars vs Abia Warriors
3SC vs Nasarawa United
Lobi Stars vs El Kanemi Warriors
Ifeanyi Uba vs Akwa United
Sunshine Stars vs Niger Tornadoes

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