Home Sports Football NPFL: Rangers, Remo Stars, Kwara United jostle for 3rd place

NPFL: Rangers, Remo Stars, Kwara United jostle for 3rd place

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First and second places are at the moment farfetched for Rangers, Remo Stars and Kwara United, all of whom are on show this Wednesday as the Nigeria Professional Football League 2021/22 enters Week 24.

There are 42 points to fight for but both frontrunners have created a gulf between them and their chasing rivals.

Four points separate Rivers United and second placed Plateau United, while the former have an advantage of 14, 15 and 16 points respectively over Rangers, Remo Stars and Kwara United.

In other words, whatever happened this Matchday, Rivers United and Plateau United are untouchable.

Third, fourth and fifth spots are up for grabs as Rangers play away to Niger Tornadoes, Remo Stars host Dakkada FC and Kwara United welcome Abia Warriors to Ilorin.

Rangers and Remo Stars continue their pursuit of frontrunners Rivers United and Plateau United.

At Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna where Niger Tornadoes have made their temporary home, Rangers will go all out for maximum points to prove that their Matchday 4 4-0 bashing of their hosts in Nnewi earlier in the season was not a fluke.

The worry though is that Rangers have only picked four points in four matches since the second half of the season commenced. So, the wards of coach Abdul Maikaba have their work well cut out.

The duo of Elijah Ani and Ossy Martins will likely lead the Flying Antelopes’ attack against Tornadoes’ defence that is expected to be feature the duo of Sunday Akinmoladun and Bolaji Adeyemo.

Rangers’ backline that include Uche John and David Chimezie may be up against dribbling sensation, Ahmadu Liman, as well as Segun Alebiosu and Emmanuel Jonas.

In their last two visits to Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Rangers ran away with a 1-0 victory over now relegated Jigawa Golden Stars plus a 1-1 draw against Kano Pillars in the 2020/2021 season.

Maikaba said of the fixture: ‘Like I have said in most sessions with the media, no two matches are the same. We may have lost some vital points since the start of the second round but we are prepared to cover lost ground and I am positive of getting a good result in the fixture against Niger Tornadoes. They started the second round on a high and that is a positive for them and we are not letting that fact slip’.

But Tornadoes coach Abubakar Bala Mohammed said the tie against Rangers is always a tough one, apparently recalling that the Ikon Allah Boys suffered their heaviest defeat of the season in the hands of their visitors. He however said his side would leave no stone unturned to ensure victory.

Gabriel Wassa will miss out of this fixture due to his expulsion from the last match, while Lukman Mohammed and Peter Momoh return.

Remo Stars’ last two games ended in shared honours, which did not enable them topple Rangers at No 3. Another opportunity presents itself for the Sky Blue Stars at their Ikenne-Remo ground as Dakkada FC come all the way from Uyo, where both sides played 1-1 in the first leg.

Dakkada lost all but one of their away games this season, drawing the other 1-1 against Abia Warriors. They are only four points above the drop four.

Like Remo Stars, Kwara United could only also win two points in their last two matches and will be seeking a return to winning ways against visiting Abia Warriors. Again, just as the Remo Stars-Dakkada FC case, the first leg of this tie ended 1-1 in Okigwe.

Abia Warriors are a step above the relegation zone but are not likely to descend inside giving that they not only have a three-point advantage over the sides below them, but also have a hefty goal advantage to the boot.

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