NPFL: Rivers Utd, Pillars battle in Port Harcourt

It is always a special occasion when Kano Pillars and Rivers United go toe to toe in any football competition. The two sides met twice in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) last season, and even though just two goals were scored in the two fixtures, the quality of football served is still talked about till this day. United are flying, doing positive things in their maiden appearance in Africa’s premier club competition – the Caf Champions League while Pillars have yet to hit expected heights this term. The Pride of Rivers will be buoyed by the fact that Sai Masu Gida have yet to hit the underbelly of any side on their travels this term but Kano Pillars head coach, Kadiri Ikhana will hope his charges can score their first away goal in Port Harcourt on Wednesday. Four-time champions, Pillars are spoilt for choice as far as quality personnel is concerned. In veteran, Danladi Isah, Pillars have one of the most important goalkeepers in the division while new acquisition, Chinedu Udoji remains a stalwart to be respected. Zaharadeen Bello, Chris Madaki, Emmanuel Anyanwu and Kamal Sikiru are some of the other individuals who make up an extremely solid Pillars spine with the mercurial Rabiu Ali certain to provide the creative juice for the side from the ancient city. Amos Gyang is probably the most dangerous Pillars star on current form while Gambo Mohammed, who scored for Pillars in their 1-0 win over United in Kano last season comes with a fearsome reputation as an accomplished marksman. Spokesman of the Pillars club, Idris Malikawa insists players of the club are at present in a good place as they seek to become the first side to put United to the sword in front of their supporters. “We expect good football (on Wednesday) and hopefully we get a positive result. “Rivers United is representing Nigeria on the continent and they are a good side. “It will not be an easy match but we will do our best to try to get a positive result,” Malikawa said. United’s technical manager, Stanley Eguma will be eager to maintain high standards following Sunday’s comprehensive 4-0 drubbing of Malian side, AS Real Bamako in the Champions League. The experienced trainer is full of respect for Pillars and predicted that things will be anything but straightforward for his charges on Wednesday at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium. “Kano Pillars is a very big team and we cannot take anything for granted (against them). “This game will be completely different from our Champions League games versus AS Real Bamako. “We will fashion out a strategy that will give us victory. “It is a must-win game for us because our position on the log is very precarious,” he told A win for United will take them into the top half of the table but Pillars will be looking to claim prestigious scalp on the road to give themselves a lift on the log. Form guide (last five NPFL matches) Kano Pillars (WLLWL) Kano Pillars 0-1 Lobi Stars (Away) Kano Pillars 2-1 Shooting Stars (Home) Kano Pillars 0-1 Sunshine Stars (Away) Kano Pillars 0-1 MFM FC (Away) Kano Pillars 1-0 ABS Rivers United (DDWWW) Rivers United 1-1 Akwa United (Away) Rivers United 1-0 Niger Tornadoes (Home) Rivers United 0-0 FC Ifeanyiubah (Away) Rivers United 0-0 Lobi Stars (Home) Rivers United 1-2 Shooting Stars (Away) Previous meetings in competitive matches (Head-to-head) Matches: Two Rivers United wins: One Kano Pillars wins: One Draws: Nil Goals for: Rivers United (1); Kano Pillars (1) Goals against: Rivers United (1); Kano Pillars (1) Points accumulated: Rivers United (0); Kano Pillars (0) Details (Specific breakdown) Rivers United 1-0 Kano Pillars (NPFL: Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt on April 17, 2016) Kano Pillars 1-0 Rivers United (NPFL: Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano on August 21, 2016) NPFL


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