Merreikh keep cruising, Dolphin rebound
Nigeria’s Premier League heads into its final months of action with Dolphin FC re-establishing a decent lead in the standings as they chase the championship. In Angola, Kabuscorp remain leaders despite another disappointing home result while Posta Rangers have moved to a share of the leadership in Kenya and Al Merreikh’s near-perfect season in Sudan continued.
Angola Girabola: Leaders home form scratchy
Leaders Kabuscorp have again dropped precious home points after being held by lowly FC Cabinda as they move towards the final third of the season. Recreativo Libolo moved second with a 3-1 win over FC Bravos do Maquis, and they are now three points behind. Petro Atletico have a chance, however, to reach 33 points and cut the leaders’ advantage to just a single point because they have a match in hand in midweek at home to InterClube.
Big game: Kabuscorp have now been held to three home draws and lost twice at Luanda’s Coqueiros Stadium in an increasingly inconsistent campaign, and they were desperately disappointed after being held by their visitors from the north of Angola. Seleo had Kabuscorp ahead at half-time, scoring on the stroke of the whistle, but Bebeto equalised for the visitors with 13 minutes to go.
Headline-grabbers: Joao Martins spared the blushes of pre-season favourites Primeiro Agosto with a goal five minutes into stoppage time to force a 1-1 draw with Benfica Luanda. The army club had only previously lost once in 12 meetings with Benfica but found themselves a goal down when Mussumary snatched an 80th-minute lead at the end of a quick counter-attack.
Kenya Premier Division: Crowded at the top
Posta Rangers failed to take full advantage of leaders Tusker’s inactivity over the weekend but did join them at the top of the table after a 1-1 draw at Nairobi City Stars. Gor Mahia were joined on third place, three off the leaders, by Ulinzi Stars, who won 1-0 at KCB. Gor Mahia and Tusker have games in hand and play a catch-up game in midweek.
Big game: Champions Ulinzi are moving stealthily up the standings in defence of their title, winning for a third time in five games as they won 1-0 away at Kenya Commercial Bank. Left back Hussein Mohammed’s 28th-minute goal means that Ulinzi have also now won three of their last four away matches.
Headline-grabbers: Moses Arita scored his ninth goal of the season to go top of the leading scorers list in the Premier League but his contribution for Thika United proved insignificant as they lost 4-1 away at Chemelil Sugar, for whom Victor Ochieng scored twice.
Nigeria Premier League: Dolphin swim away
Dolphin FC look to have put a mediocre run of form behind them and won at the weekend to open up a four-point lead at the top of the league. But their closest rivals Sunshine Stars were playing in the CAF Confederation Cup and have now played two matches less in the Premier League campaign, meaning they theoretically still have the chance to lead the title race.
Big game: Dolphin’s 2-0 win over Crown FC pushed the Port Harcourt side up to 64 points but, more importantly, looks to have arrested a slump in form that threatened their chances of taking their first title since 2004. The win means they have won 16 of 17 home matches in the league this season but have been let down by their away form, where they have lost ten times.
Headline-grabbers: Victor Michael and Olewesi Johnson got the goals that ensured Dolphin’s win, scoring on either side of the interval. Michael snapped up a rebound off the away goalkeeper to score eight minutes before half-time and Johnson got a fortuitous deflection for his goal five minutes after the break. Crown FC remain deeply mired in the relegation struggle.
Sudan Champions League: Opening up a psychological game
While champions Al Hilal were earning kudos for themselves by winning in the CAF Champions League at the weekend, their long-standing domestic rivals Al Merreikh stretched their league lead to nine points. Al Hilal have won seven of the last eight Sudani titles but, with their focus elsewhere, they risk allowing their bitter foes to sprint away with domestic honours.
Big game: A 2-0 win away against relegation-threatened Hay al Arab, means Al Merreikh have now won 16 of their 17 league matches this season, scoring 50 goals and conceding just five. Their remarkable display of dominance includes a 1-0 win over Al Hilal in the Khartoum derby in March, but their scheduled second meeting has been postponed to accommodate Al Hilal’s exploits in continental club competition.
Headline-grabbers: Zambian striker Jonas Sakuwaha scored on either side of the break in Al Merreikh’s win in Port Sudan. He has 13 goals this season, having been ever-present for his club in the league campaign.
Casa Sport were held to a goalless draw at home by Pikine and remain second behind Ouakam, who have a game in hand and a six-point advantage in Senegal.
Red Arrows won 2-0 away at Nkana FC and have a two-point lead in Zambia’s Super Division.
Maxaquene’s 1-1 draw in the derby with Ferroviario Maputo leaves them six points behind leaders Liga Muculmana in Mozambique.