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Enyimba, Heartland set for oriental derby as Sunshine Stars tackle Sporting Lagos

Following the postponement of games, the matchday 30 fixtures of the 2023/24 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) season will today kick off with the famed…

Following the postponement of games, the matchday 30 fixtures of the 2023/24 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) season will today kick off with the famed oriental derby between defending champions, Enyimba and relegation-threatened Heartland in Aba.

Heartland will be battling for their lives to earn all three points as they bid to move away from the relegation zone while Enyimba will hope to move into third place with a win. However, Heartland’s chances of avoiding relegation this season are very slim due to poor results, but the last time Enyimba defeated Heartland was in 2015.

Elsewhere in Lagos, it is also derby day in the Southwest as NPFL newbies Sporting Lagos host their final derby day of the season. The ‘Tech Boys’ will welcome Sunshine Stars to the lush Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan Stadium. It will be a battle as both sides facing relegation scare have only met once in the league, and the first time was in Akure, where Sporting Lagos lost by a lone goal.

Similarly, Shooting Stars seek revenge over Lobi Stars who are in a heated title race with Rangers International of Enugu while Shooting Stars, known as Oluyole Warriors, are looking to pick a ticket to a CAF competition.

The Pride of Benue, Lobi, won the reverse fixture 2-1 and Shooting will be hungry for revenge at the Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan.

Former champions Akwa are running out of time to prevent relegation from the NPFL, and they must stop the in-form Tornadoes first to achieve that goal. Tornadoes regained form at the business end of the season, winning three of their past three matches in spectacular fashion as they scored ten goals at that time, including a crushing defeat against Bendel Insurance in Benin City. Akwa United have a tall order as they must avoid another defeat after losing consecutive NPFL matches as well as the reverse encounter in Minna.

Elsewhere, all eyes will also be on other title contenders in the football league as current leaders on goal difference, Rangers host Abia Warriors in another chapter of the Oriental derby just as Bayelsa United welcome Katsina United.

In Ogun State, Remo Stars will be trading tackles with an impressive Doma United which is expected to be full of fireworks.

Their last meeting in Ikenne ended in a stalemate, and the ‘Sky Blue Stars’ of Ikenne will look to exact the same fate against the ‘Savannah Tigers’.

Other clashes will see Rivers United hosting Plateau United while Kano Pillars attempt to return to winning ways in a difficult trip to Benin against Bendel Insurance.

Meanwhile, 589 goals have been scored amongst the teams this season in the NPFL so far with Plateau United being the highest-scoring side with 44 goals, while the duo of Gombe-based clubs Doma and Gombe United have scored the most minor goals of 21.

Only 22 away wins, 69 draws, and 193 home wins have been recorded this season.

 

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