NPFL match day five preview: Rivers United Vs Lobi Stars

Rivers United have enjoyed their best ever start to a Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season this term after amassing eight points from a possible 12 from their first four games of the campaign.
On Sunday, the Pride of Rivers will look to continue with the good habit of amassing maximum points at home when they face Lobi Stars at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt.
United go into the game full of confidence after picking up a point against FC Ifeanyiubah in Nnewi in midweek.
Stanley Eguma, the Rivers United technical manager faces a selection dilemma on Sunday after he made wholesale changes in his squad for the draw against FCIU.
The individuals who were introduced to the squad; Olalekan Gabriel, Femi Thomas, Weli Christian and Zoumana Doumbia all covered themselves in glory in Nnewi.
Lobi’s head coach, Godwin Uwua does not have such problems as he has played virtually the same team in the four-week old season.
John Lawrence is favourite to start ahead in goal for Lobi as Okiemute Odah did not travel to Port Harcourt with the rest of the squad.
Former Super Eagles man, Solomon Kwambe continues to lead a back four that also includes Moses Bunde, Ayagwa Raphael and Agbaji Anthony with distinction.
Sunday Alimi will likely compliment the efforts of veteran, David Tyavkase in midfield while Kingsley Eduwo and Okpotu Anthony represent two of the most-feared marksmen in the league.
Goals were at a premium when the two sides met in the league last season with either club claiming a 1-0 win in their respective home fixtures.
The onus will be on United to force the issue but the Stars from Makurdi will coming with plans to upset the applecart in Port Harcourt according to head coach, Uwua.
“Football is not (mathematics) and I am sure that if we deploy our tactics to perfection, I am sure we will get what we want.
“We know that Rivers United is a good side that will represent Nigeria on the continent.
“We lost out narrowly from qualifying for (either of Caf’s inter-club competitions) last season and we want to correct that this time around.
“We also believe that Rivers United cannot remain unbeaten; if they can get draws on the road and beat opponents at home, we can also inflict defeat on them as well.
“We are coming to Port Harcourt to do what we know best and we believe that at the end of the day, we will be victorious,” he told
Eguma on his part says the objective is to win on Sunday and revealed he has been keeping tabs on the opposition since the season commenced.
“My plan is to win. I know they have a very strong team.
“I have been following their performances in the league and the plan is to attack from the first whistle as we need to win the match,” he said.
Rivers United is currently in second place on the NPFL standings with eight points from their opening four games while Lobi currently occupies 11th spot on the standings with six points from four matches.
Form guide (last five NPFL matches)
Rivers United (DWDWW)
Rivers United 2-1 Akwa United (Away)
Rivers United 2-1 El Kanemi Warriors (Home)
Rivers United 1-1 Akwa United (Away)
Rivers United 1-0 Niger Tornadoes (Home)
Rivers United 0-0 FCIU (Away)
Lobi Stars (WLWLW)
Lobi Stars 2-0 Nasarawa United (H)
Lobi Stars 0-2 Shooting Stars (A)
Lobi Stars 1-0 Kano Pillars (H)
Lobi Stars 0-4 MFM FC (A)
Lobi Stars 3-0 ABS (H)
Previous meetings in competitive matches (Head-to-head)
Matches: Two (2)
Rivers United wins: One (1)
Lobi Stars wins: One (1)
Draws; Nil (0)
Details (Specific breakdown)
Lobi Stars 1-0 Rivers United (NPFL; Aper Aku Stadium Makurdi on May 22, 2016).
Rivers United 1-0 Lobi Stars (NPFL; Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt on June 5, 2016).

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