FOUR IMPORTANT FOOTBALL MATCHES TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND
It’s important to note that both Lobi Stars and Rangers will start their Sunday match tied on 10 points from five matches.
RIVERS UNITED v BLOEMFONTEIN CELTIC
….to play @Stade Charles de Gaulle @4 pm today, January 23
The concluding leg of this CAF Confederations Cup match will go ahead on today, Saturday at the Stade Charles de Gaulle, Porto Novo in Benin Republic.
The second leg was initially scheduled for January 9 but because of South Africa being a high-risk COVID-19 hot spot, Nigerian authorities asked Celtic to quarantine for 14 days on entry, a protocol the South Africa team could not meet.
United won the first leg 2-0 in Free State and got a largesse of N2.4 million from Felix Obuah, who has again promised to give the team N1 million for a win on today.
Coach Stanley Eguma speaking on a radio programme, promised his team will not be complacent against Celtic during the play.
According to Eguma, “We cannot say because we have beaten Bloemfontein 2 goals in South Africa, that means it is going to be a walkover. Football is not mathematics and we have to even do more than we have done before because Bloemfontein will be coming like a wounded lion.”
Meanwhile, the winner of this tie will take on Enyimba in the last hurdle before the group stage.
Rivers United [W-L-W-W-W]; Bloemfontein Celtic [D-D-L-D-L]
23/12/20 CCC Bloemfontein Celtic 0 – 2 Rivers United
Prediction: Rivers United 2-2 Bloemfontein Celtic
AC MILAN v ATALANTA
…. to play @San Siro @6pm Today January 23.
Atalanta have turned into one bogey team for AC Milan, with the Milan giants boasting just one win over their Bergamo-based opponents.
Despite two successive draws and the continued absence of Papu Gomez, Atalanta are in sixth place, 10 points off Milan’s tally of 43 points.
Stefano Pioli’s Milan have been almost imperious at the San Siro, winning five of their nine game with a solitary defeat but in Atalanta they face a side who enjoy playing away and score lots of goals on their travels. Pioli has more players to call on with Theo Hernandez, Ante Rebic, and Rade Krunic available after COVID-19 quarantine.
Atalanta should also be stronger with the returns of Josip Ilicic, Robin Gosens, Berat Djimsiti and Duvan Zapata, who were all rested by Gian-Piero Gasperini in the midweek 1-1 draw away at Udinese.
AC Milan [W-W-W-L-W]; Atalanta [D-D-W-W-W]
24/07/20 SEA AC Milan 1 – 1 Atalanta
22/12/19 SEA Atalanta 5 – 0 AC Milan
16/02/19 SEA Atalanta 1 – 3 AC Milan
23/09/18 SEA AC Milan 2 – 2 Atalanta
13/05/18 SEA Atalanta 1 – 1 AC Milan
Prediction: AC Milan 1-2 Atalanta
RANGERS v LOBI STARS
…. to play @Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium @4pm tomorrow, Sunday January 24
Again, it is instructive to note that both teams will start their Sunday match tied on 10 points from five matches. Both have won thrice, drawn once and lost once.
Under Coach Salisu Yusuf, Rangers have won both home games at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium while Lobi Stars have lost and drawn on their two away forays though Lobi Stars are the more proficient side in front of goal, having notched eight as against Rangers’ five in all league matches.
Yusuf believes his team is building the necessary consistency to allow them to go the full distance as they pursue their eighth league title.
CURRENT FORM: Rangers [D-W-W-W-L]; Lobi Stars [W-D-W-W-L]
05/02/20 NPF Lobi Stars 1 – 1 Rangers
06/06/19 NPF Rangers 2 – 1 Lobi Stars
12/05/19 NPF Lobi Stars 1 – 0 Rangers
17/04/19 NPF Rangers 1 – 1 Lobi Stars
20/05/18 NPF Lobi Stars 1 – 0 Rangers
Prediction: Rangers 2-1 Lobi Stars
MAN. UNITED v LIVERPOOL
… to play @Old Trafford @6 pm tomorrow, Sunday January 24
Liverpool have fallen off the perch at an alarming rate; scoring just one goal in their last five EPL matches though their last win came in the FA Cup, where they beat an Aston Villa U-20 side 4-1.
United are top of the EPK table and have conceded just one goal in their last four matches. After playing to a 0-0 result last Sunday, the two teams will have a go again with United chasing a first win over their North-West rivals since 2018.
Jurgen Klopp can name Joel Matip while captain Jordan Henderson should return after missing the Burnley defeat. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has no new injury problems and will look at recalling Marcus Rashford into the starting 11 with Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic, also pushing for minutes.
This is a match Liverpool cannot afford to lose.
Man. Utd [W-D-W-W-L]; Liverpool [L-D-W-L-D]
17/01/21 PRL Liverpool 0-0 Man. United
19/01/20 PRL Liverpool 2-0 Man. United
20/10/19 PRL Man. United 1 – 1 Liverpool
24/02/19 PRL Man. United 0 – 0 Liverpool
16/12/18 PRL Liverpool 3 – 1 Man. United
Prediction: Man. Utd 1-1 Liverpool
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