It promises to be another interesting midweek in the Nigerian Professional Football League as clubs continue their scramble to make a run of good results to help their cause at the end of the season. Among the teams that have been performing consistently for a while now is Plateau United.
The Jos-based side has been racking victory upon victory (although they experienced a dip in form recently) in the Nigerian top-flight and they currently find themselves occupying the second position on the table. This midweek though, they will be facing another team that has been in the talks for a while - Sunshine Stars.
The Akure Gunners put in a series of strong performances at the beginning of the season that helped push them to a decent spot in the rankings. At present, they occupy the sixth position on the NPFL table. Unfortunately, their midweek fixture won't be favourable. They will be welcoming a team that has already humiliated many big clubs in the division this term.
Nevertheless, they still have a good chance as Plateau United are not having a good run at the moment. The Jos-based side has just two victories from their last five games, drawing one and losing the remaining two. What is more disheartening is that their games away from home have been everything but impressive. They lost two and drew one of their last three away matches. Sunshine Stars can take their solace from that.
On the other hand, Sunshine Stars are not better either. In fact, they have a similar run of results compared to that of their opponents. Austin Eguavoen's men also recorded two victories, two defeats and a draw from their last five matches in the Nigerian top-flight.
Another cause for concern for the team is the rate at which they ship in goals. From their last 10 matches, they scored 14 goals and conceded 10, which does not make for a very good stat. Plateau United, on the other hand, scored 16 goals in their last 10 matches and shipped in 8.
Sunshine Stars vs Plateau United Team News
Besides the fact that they occupy the sixth and second positions on the table, there isn't much separating these two teams with regards to expectations ahead of their face-off on Wednesday evening. They both have been less impressive in recent weeks and have some serious work to do to regain the full confidence of their respective fans.
There's the opportunity for Sunshine Stars to improve their spot in the rankings. Only two points separate them from third-placed Rivers United. If they could manage to secure a victory in this midweek, they have the possibility to climb past the likes of Akwa Starlets, Akwa United and Rivers United to reach the third position. That will also depend on the results of the mentioned teams, though.
Meanwhile, a victory for Plateau United and anything less than three points for Lobi Stars would see the Jos-based club return to the summit of the table. As it stands, there are big prospects for the two sides. It remains to be seen who will take advantage of them.
Sunshine Stars vs Plateau United Head to Head
Heading into this encounter, Plateau United fans have every reason to rejoice as the last time Sunshine Stars were able to overcome them was as far back as 10th September 2016, which they won by three goals to one on their home turf.
That was avenged in the reverse fixture in January 2017 of the same season, though. The remaining two matches after that were won by Plateau United. This includes a 2-1 away win and a resounding 5-0 drubbing of Sunshine Stars on their home ground.
Furthermore, the last time Sunshine Stars had a shut-out against Plateau United team was a drab nil-nil draw on 8 May 2016. Should the hoodoo of their last match against each other still hound Austin Eguavoen's men, then, their fans will be in for a long evening.
Sunshine Stars vs Plateau United Predicted XI
Sunshine Stars Predicted XI: Ojo O, Akande T, Akobundu E, Akpojubweuvwo B, Ekeleojuoti F, Fatokun J, Hillary I, Ogunniyi O.J, Olulayo S, Omaka A, Suleiman M.
Plateau United Predicted XI: Chinedu A, Abba U, Babawo I, Ibrahim B, Ikefe A, Itodo D, Mustapha I, Ndala I, Nenrot S, Ochowechi O, Onwuasoanya O.
Sunshine Stars vs Plateau United Prediction
Since Sunshine Stars have been finding it difficult to keep Plateau United’s attackers quiet for a while now and given the leaky form of their defence of late, there is a huge doubt that they’ll be able to do so in this match too.
Possibly, due to the fact that Plateau United have been struggling on the road in their recent fixtures, something’s going to have to give. But the potency of their attack should give them the edge in this tight fixture.
Prediction: Sunshine Stars 1-2 Plateau United.Published 13 Jan 2020, 15:26 IST