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Oriental derby pitches Rangers, Enyimba in 1st vs 2nd battle

Oriental derby pitches Rangers, Enyimba in 1st vs 2nd battle

The Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) title race takes a potentially decisive turn this weekend, with an Oriental derby clash between leaders Enugu Rangers and second-placed Enyimba headlining the Week 35 fixtures.

Rangers have 61 points, while Enyimba and third-placed Remo Stars are tied on 59 points each. Enyimba occupy second spot courtesy of their superior goal difference.

The two rivals will face off at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu, with Rangers holding a two-point advantage over Enyimba at the summit.

However, Enyimba still have hopes of reclaiming the top spot, as they continue to contest a two-point deduction imposed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) tribunal earlier in the season.

Head-to-head, Enyimba have enjoyed more success against Rangers, winning 14 of their 29 meetings, compared to Rangers’ nine victories, while six games ended in draws.

A draw in Enugu could open the door for Remo Stars to climb to the top if they can overcome Lobi Stars at the Lafia Township Stadium.

With just three rounds of fixtures remaining after this weekend, the title race is finely poised, as both Rangers and Enyimba have relatively comfortable run-ins.

Rangers face away games against 3SC of Ibadan and already relegated Gombe United, as well as a home tie with Bendel Insurance.

Enyimba, on the other hand, have matches against relegation-threatened Sporting Lagos and two home games against Bayelsa United and Plateau United.

In other Week 35 fixtures, Abia Warriors will host Bendel Insurance, Heartland are at home to Doma United, and Rivers United will host Shooting Stars, while Sunshine Stars face Akwa United.

The remaining two games will see Bayelsa United take on Sporting Lagos and Kano Pillars host Niger Tornadoes.

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