Enugu Rangers vs. Abia Warriors @ Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium @8pm on July 8
Rangers have shown the stuff of champions so far this season but if they must begin to build towards winning the league title, they have to start piling on the points at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, starting against Abia Warriors on Friday night. In what has become a testament to the fact that Nigerians still love their local league, the stadium is expected to be filled as the supporters shout themselves hoarse in support of the coal-city team.
In the first leg, it was Chisom Chikatara that came to the Warriors’ rescue with a second equalizer. Kennedy Boboye’s side are in a free-fall at the moment, having lost four of their last five matches and will plunge further down the table with another loss.
Recent Form: Enugu Rangers [D-W-D-L-W]; Abia Warriors [L-L-L-W-L]
Head to head
13/03/16 NPF Abia Warriors 2 – 2 Enugu Rangers
04/10/15 NPF Abia Warriors 3 – 3 Enugu Rangers
17/06/15 NPF Enugu Rangers 1 – 0 Abia Warriors
24/09/14 NPF Abia Warriors 0 – 0 Enugu Rangers
23/04/14 NPF Enugu Rangers 2 – 1 Abia Warriors
Prediction: Enugu Rangers 2-0 Abia Warriors
Sudan vs. Nigeria [U-20] @El Hilal Stadium @8pm on July 10
Emmanuel Amuneke’s team has been firing on all cylinders and recently defeated the U-23 side in a friendly. They will tackle a Sudanese side that got to this stage via the withdrawal of their second round opponent, Malawi. The match was formerly scheduled for Friday but was moved to Sunday by the Sudanese Football Federation.
The match will be refereed by Somalia’s Hagi Yabarow Wiish and assisted by Ali Mohamed Mahad and Salah Omar Abukar. The national U-20 team beat Burundi 3-1 on aggregate in the earlier round and the return leg is on July 22 in Port Harcourt.
The two countries have never met at this level but the senior teams met in the 2015 Nations Cup qualifiers
Recent Form: Sudan [D-L-D-L-L]; Nigeria [W-W-W-W-W]
Head to head
15/10/14 ANCQ Nigeria 3 – 1 Sudan
11/10/14 ANCQ Sudan 1 – 0 Nigeria
09/01/08 FRI Nigeria 2 – 0 Sudan
01/07/01 WCQ Sudan 0 – 4 Nigeria
27/01/01 WCQ Nigeria 3 – 0 Sudan
Prediction: Sudan 0-2 Nigeria
Portugal vs. France @Stade de France @8pm on July 10
The French seem to be holding all the aces in this one. In 24 ties against Portugal, they have won 18 and have not lost to the Portuguese in their last 10 meetings. Add this to the fact that they have not lost when playing at home in the last 24 matches and you will understand the daunting task that is before Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portuguese band of brothers.
But Portugal will relish their underdog status and will hope to shake France just like Greece did to them in 2004, the first Euro competition that Ronaldo competed in. France are bidding to win a third major title on home soil – after the Euro triumph in 1984 and the 1998 World Cup triumph.
Recent Form: Portugal [D-D-W-W-W]; France [W-D-W-W-W]
Head to head
04/09/15 FRI Portugal 0 – 1 France
11/10/14 FRI France 2 – 1 Portugal
05/07/06 WOC Portugal 0 – 1 France
25/04/01 FRI France 4 – 0 Portugal
28/06/00 EUC France 2 – 1 Portugal
Prediction: Portugal 1-2 France
Heartland vs. Enyimba @Dan Anyiam Stadium @4pm on July 10
Heartland are definitely in a relegation battle while Enyimba need all the points they can gather to get back on the continent. Defending champions, Enyimba are five points off the top of the table with two games in hand though their strikers have been on ‘off duty’ for their last 10 matches – having scored just 10 goals in their last 10 matches!
Something has to give in Owerri but with the two teams so goals shy, it would not be a disaster if this ends in a draw.
Recent Form: Heartland [L-W-L-D-D]; Enyimba [W-L-W-L-L]
Head to head
27/04/16 NPF Enyimba 1 – 1 Heartland
04/10/15 NPF Heartland 2 – 1 Enyimba
17/06/15 NPF Enyimba 2 – 0 Heartland
28/09/14 NPF Enyimba 0 – 0 Heartland
26/04/14 NPF Heartland 1 – 0 Enyimba
Prediction: Heartland 1-1 Enyimba
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