- Published on Sunday, 21 June 2015 05:50
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Match Day 13 of the Glo Premier League will throw up a handful of very interesting and tantalizing match-ups including the top-of-the-table clash between leaders, Sunshine Stars and defending champions, Kano Pillars, who sit pretty in third place. The match takes place at the Akure Township Stadium on Sunday.
In between the two clubs sit six-time champions, Enyimba, who play on the road in another mouthwatering contest against Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan on Sunday.
The two matches will be among those that will decide key positions at the top of the Glo Premier League table just as the Wikki Tourists versus Sharks game at the Pantami Stadium, Gombe, also on Sunday, will be another decider in who finishes among the top-four after the match day.
But it is the Sunshine Stars versus Kano Pillars that will be the focal point this Sunday considering the impressive run of the two clubs in this season's campaign so far.
In their last five matches, both teams have lost once - Sunshine Stars suffered a 3-2 loss at Abia Warriors and Kano Pillars were downed by Gbolahan Salami's penalty at the Warri City Stadium on June 15 when Warri Wolves won 1-0.
Just two points separate the two teams, as Sunshine Stars lead the Glo Premier League ranking with 23 points having had to dig deep and late in their last match to defeat Wolves 2-1 in Akure. Pillars were in fine form as they brushed aside Giwa FC 4-1 in the previous match day in Kano, and the duo of Rabiu Ali and Adamu Mohammed helped themselves with a brace each.
But Kano Pillars have found the going tough in Akure in the past five seasons, losing every of those five matches including a three-nil defeat last term when Musa Newman scored a brace before Prince Aggreh netted in injury time to put gloss on a superb Sunshine Stars performance in August last year.
Pillars coach, Okey Emordi, is confident that his team stand a chance of securing a result in Akure despite failing to do so in their last five travels. "This is football, and anything can happen. We are not going there with a mentality to play defensive as we believe we can win anywhere," he said to www.npfl.ng.
Interestingly, Sunday marks the 12th year when Kano Pillars' began their unbeaten run at home, and Sunshine Stars, who were close to defeating the champions in Kano last season will want to spoil the party even before it starts.
The Shooting Stars versus Enyimba game is finely set up in Ibadan. Enyimba have gone five games without a loss and the Oluyole Warriors will hope that they continue their fantastic run under new coach Gbenga Ogunbote, who has taken charge of two matches, won one and drawn the other at Bayelsa United.
Two seasons ago when Shooting Stars hosted Enyimba in this same fixture, it ended 1-1. Andrew Abalogu scored for the Peoples Elephant 10 minutes into the second half before Francis Edem levelled matters from the spot with eight minutes to full time. Had Enyimba held on to that slim lead, it is unlikely they would have lost the title last season.
Fourth-placed Wikki Tourists will attempt to settle down at their temporary home ground at the Pantami Stadium when they host bottom-placed Sharks. Wikki could move into the top-two after match day 13 with a win against Sharks should Enyimba and Kano Pillars stumble.
In Warri, Wolves are going to host Rangers. Wolves were close to leaving Akure with a point in the previous match day before Kingsley Udoh's popped up with a headed goal in added time to deny them. Rangers left it late in their game to defeat Abia Warriors in one of the oriental derbies in midweek through Chisom Egbuchulam's goal in injury time.
The last time Rangers won at Warri Wolves was in 2005 but their last four trips to Warri have ended in similar scorelines of one-nil defeats. So Rangers coach Imama Amapakabo will hope he can change their fortune this time.
Ambitious Giwa FC, who had their nine-game unbeaten run snapped in midweek by Kano Pillars, will seek to bounce back to reckoning when they face Dolphins at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt. Giwa FC dropped from the top of the table to sixth and will be keen to replicate the 0-0 result of last season once again at Dolphins, who have struggled to get into the groove.
Dolphins coach, Stanley Eguma, certainly will not be pleased to see that his team are sitting third from bottom, and will want an improvement from his men to avoid romancing with trouble.
Other matches on Sunday are Abia Warriors versus Akwa United at the Enyimba Stadium; El-Kanemi Warriors versus FC Ifeanyiubah at the Karkanda Stadium in Katsina.
Heartland will host FC Taraba at the Rojenny Stadium, Oba, Onitsha while Bayelsa United are going up against Nasarawa United at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi. Ilorin Township Stadium will host the match between Kwara United and Lobi Stars.
Match Day 13 Fixtures
Sunshine Stars vs Kano Pillars
Abia Warriors vs Akwa United
Dolphins vs Giwa FC
El-Kanemi Warriors vs FC Ifeanyiubah
Wikki Tourists vs Sharks
Heartland vs FC Taraba
Shooting Stars vs Enyimba
Nasarawa United vs Bayelsa United
Kwara United vs Lobi Stars
Warri Wolves vs Rangers
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