For seven weeks running, Plateau United have tried to improved their fortune by returning to the top spot, which they assumed on Matchday 13. But Rivers United remained their stumbling block.
When the Pride of Rivers managed to pick only a point in Uyo by playing 1-1 with Akwa United last Saturday, the expectation was that Plateau United would extend their 11-game unbeaten run against Sunshine Stars in Ijebu-Ode. But the Jos team disappointed by losing 0-1, thereby having the gap Rivers United had on them increased from one to two points.
This Matchday, both sides will be at home in two of Thursday’s three matches.
All that some of top teams playing this Wednesday can do is to reduce the huge advantage both top two runners have established. Between second placed Plateau United and Rangers and Kwara United in third and fourth respectively, there is a gulf of seven points.
At their temporary home, the Awka City Stadium, Rangers will welcome Katsina United, who are leading the bottom four teams. The Flying Antelopes of Finidi George were peppered 0-2 by Lobi Stars last Sunday in Makurdi and they will be seeking to make their fans happy again.
Katsina United had their last match at home to Abia Warriors postponed. The Changi Boys are poor travellers having picked only a point in 10 away games. That explains why they are 17th on the log, and one point above bottom-placed Heartland.
Kwara United arrived Uyo with enthusiasm to deny Dakkada FC of any glory. But the former Akwa Starlets are in the mood to win and escape from the relegation zone.
They are however hunted by statistics – their home games against Gombe United and Wikki Tourists ended in defeat, in addition to draws against Rangers and Remo Stars. They have however been victorious in their last three matches in Uyo.
On their part, Kwara United won once away (versus MFM) and recorded three draws in 10 fixtures on the road.
After fighting from a goal down to beat Remo Stars 2-1 last Sunday in Ilorin, an elated Kwara United coach, Abdullahi Biffo commended his players for grinding out the maximum points in a tough match.
‘Having gone behind, we had to dig deep to win the match despite our off-field challenges.
‘We showed that we have one of the best squads in the league and we will continue to make use of what we have to achieve our objectives for the season’, he said.
So, it’s mission to win for Kwara United in Uyo.
Remo Stars are the only club that can rattle Rangers and Kwara United on the table, and they are home to MFM. On the opening day of the season, the Sky Blue Stars, who were playing their first competitive game upon gaining promotion to the elite league, shocked the Lagos fans by beating MFM 2-0 at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan.
After their failure to win four straight matches, MFM triumphed over troubled Heartland 1-0 last time out. It was a dream debut for Micah Ojodomo as his first half strike was the doctor prescribed for the home squad. Will that momentum be built on at the Remo Stars Stadium in Ikenne-Remo?
At the Okigwe Township Stadium, it’s the Abia derby! Languishing at No 7, Enyimba face Abia Warriors in a reverse of Matchday 1 fixture, which the People’s Elephant won in Aba 2-1.
This season, Enyimba were bad guests of Rangers and Sunshine winning by a lone goal on each occasion. They just may add Abia Warriors to that list, which will mark the home team’s first home defeat this term.
Wednesday’s fixtures: Abia Warriors v Enyimba, Dakkada FC v Kwara United, Rangers v Katsina United, Kano Pillars v Akwa United, Nasarawa United v Heartland, Remo Stars v MFM, Shooting Stars v Gombe United (all 4 pm)
Thursday’s fixtures: Wikki Tourists v Sunshine Stars, Rivers United v Lobi Stars, Plateau United v Niger Tornadoes (4 pm)
Additional reports by LMC Media