Action returns to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) this weekend after the Aiteo Cup Round of 64 matches took center stage in midweek.
Rivers United, who were dumped out of Nigeria’s oldest cup competition by third division side J. Atete FC, face a tricky home clash against seven-time champions Enyimba, who were also knocked out of the competition by ABS Ilorin FC.
- NPFL Matchday 34 Results with Goalscorers & Current League Table
- NPFL Matchday 35 Fixtures & Current League Table
Elsewhere, Akwa United are in search of their second away win of the campaign as they visit big-spenders FC Ifeanyi Ubah, while Plateau United’s pursuit of their first league title sees them confront ABS FC.
We take a look at some of the top matches this weekend.
ABS ILORIN FC v PLATEAU UNITED
Plateau United remain in the driver’s seat for the 2016/17 NPFL title and they could make things clearer when they visit 18th-placed ABS Ilorin FC on Sunday.
Kenedy Boboye’s men are the most in 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 Saraki 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 manager.
As for ABS, their survival hope was dealt a huge blow last time out as they lost 3-0 to Enyimba in Calabar. Even though they got their revenge three days later in the Aiteo Cup by eliminating the People’s Elephant, the priority still remains to maintain their spot in the league.
Key Stat: Plateau United have picked up points in nine of their 17 away games this season.
RIVERS UNITED v ENYIMBA FC
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 Ilorin FC last matchday and their away draw against MFM FC, 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.
FC IFEANYI UBAH v AKWA UNITED
With four games remaining and a four point deficit in the race for the top four, FC Ifeanyi Ubah know 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.
ALL MATCHDAY 35 FIXTURES
Rangers Int’l FC v Katsina United
Wikki Tourist v Remo Stars
Rivers United v Enyimba FC
ABS Ilorin FC v Plateau United
MFM FC v Gombe United
Kano Pillars v Abia Warriors
Shooting Stars SC v Nasarawa United
Lobi Stars v El-Kanemi Warriors
FC Ifeanyi Ubah v Akwa United
Sunshine Stars v Niger Tornadoes