Lobi Stars will be hosting Sunshine Stars for their first match of 2020 with both teams looking to return to winning ways as they both failed to get maximum points in their previous matches. Lobi Stars are 2nd in the standings with 18 points while Sunshine Stars are 8th with 16 points.
Despite being separated by 6 spots in the NPFL table, a win for Sunshine Stars would make them leapfrog Lobi Stars in the standings. Lobi Stars were condemned to their second defeat of the season against a rejuvenated Akwa United side last time.
While Faud Ekelejouti's 90th-minute equalizer secured a vital point for Sunshine Stars against Dakkada FC in their last league match, they still dropped from position 6 to 8 in the standings.
Lobi Stars vs Sunshine Stars Head-to-Head
Lobi Stars are heading into the match with a slight advantage having won 7 matches against 6 won by Sunshine Stars. 5 matches between the sides have ended in draws. Sunshine Stars has never won an away match against Lobi Stars.
Lobi Stars form guide: DWDWL
Sunshine Stars form guide: WWDLD
Lobi Stars vs Sunshine Stars Team News
Alimi Sikiru, who has been in sublime form this season, is expected to be back to the starting line-up to lead their quest for an immediate response after their surprise loss against the 9th-placed Akwa United that ended their 8-match unbeaten run.
Lobi Stars head coach Gbenga Ogunbote is certain that they can maintain another impressive unbeaten run from their next game onwards. However, he bemoaned the team's lack of clinical edge and added that they'll be working on improving their finishing to take up the chances that come their way.
Solio Suleiman, who has featured in all the 11 NPFL matches for the Akure-based side, is expected to keep his place in between the sticks. The goalkeeper was disappointed not to keep his fourth clean sheet of the season in their match against Dakkada F.C.
The Akure Gunners will be without their top scorer Israel Abia who reportedly left the team's camp without official leave.
Lobi Stars vs Sunshine Stars Predicted XI
Lobi Stars: Moses Ochoje, Moses Bunde, Ebube Duru, Ayagwa Raphael, Adeleye Aniyikaye, Governor Ernest, Alimi Sikiru, Samad Kadiri, Chinedu Udeagha, Ezekiel Tamara.
Sunshine Stars: Adeniyi Alaba, Abosiye Olwale, Adebayo Waheed, Adeyemi Kehinde, Ekeleojuoti Faud, Fatokun Jide, Ogunniyi Omo Jesus, Rilwanu Sadiq, Suleiman Sahilu, Zikeye Jonathan, Sunday Abe.
Lobi Stars vs Sunshine Stars Prediction
Lobi Stars are heading into the match as favourites as they have 100% home record this season. This gives them an edge over the visitors who have never picked victory at Aper Aku Stadium.
Sunshine Stars will be missing the services of their lethal striker Israel Abia who has gone AWOL. The striker, who is leading the Nigerian Professional Football League scoring charts this season with seven goals, will be utterly missed by the away side as they'll be facing a defence that has only conceded five goals this season.
Lobi Stars will be looking for redemption against Sunshine Stars and their superior home form can lead them to a vital victory that will keep them dreaming of the NPFL title.
Prediction: Lobi Stars 1-0 Sunshine Stars
Also read: 3 Reasons why Lobi Stars can win the NPFL