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#SociaLigaMD5 : Mainland Conference Preview

All Black would have to put on their most perfect SociaLiga performance yet to have a chance of making the playoffs. Not only do they have to beat Raineri, they have to do so by a 4 goal margin. All Black have an unusual advantage, however. While they do not have a reliable goal threat, they have 7 players all on a goal each. Makes them a little bit hard to predict.

Raineri Ghost v All Black

There’s a long list of people scared of Ghosts and somewhere at the top of the list lies The SociaLiga’s All Black. In the 3 previous meetings between these two sides, Raineri have emerged with all 3pts scoring 12 times and conceding 3 times. Raineri have always fancied their chances against All Black and they’ll head into Matchday 5 with a similar mentality, you would expect.

Raineri’s superior head to head record over All Black is somewhat self-explanatory once looked closely. Over the last 2 seasons, Raineri have established themselves as one of the teams with the best spines in the league. From their towering center-halves who are dominant in the air and capable of hitting those accurate long balls once they switch to a more direct approach, to their central midfielders whose creativity is almost unmatched right to striker, Oliseh who keeps getting better and better with each passing matchday. Raineri have come to accept that attacking through the middle is their best bet and they’ve almost perfected it.

All Black, on the other hand, are at their most effective when attacking down the flanks but are relatively poor down the middle. In All Black’s opening game of the season, for example, the tried attacking down the middle and, time after time, their efforts were thwarted. Bravos Knights were able to quickly figure out this weakness and after a few tweaks, ran out comfortable 2-0 winners. In All Black’s third game of the season (against Raineri Ghost), they focused attacks down the flanks and it worked to great effect. They scored 3 times and had one chalked off for offside. It was by a mile their most impressive attacking display in league history. Sadly, they conceded 5 times in the same game. The middle of the park is the most important area in a football pitch. It’s Raineri’s biggest strength and All Black’s biggest weakness. It’s a no brainer that Raineri have always come out with a win when they meet.

On Matchday 5, All Black would have to put on their most perfect SociaLiga performance yet to have a chance of making the playoffs. Not only do they have to beat Raineri, they have to do so by a 4 goal margin. All Black have an unusual advantage, however. While they do not have a reliable goal threat, they have 7 players all on a goal each. Makes them a little bit hard to predict.

Bravos Knights v Guns

“2”. That’s Bravos Knights’ magic number. Bravos Knights have never lost a match in which they’ve scored twice and more often than not, when they score twice (or more) in a game, they end up winning. 82% of the time, to be precise in a run stretching back to last season. Manager, Alabi Kazeem has been very open about his team’s strengths. In his words, “1 or 2 goals is enough for me”. He’s right. Bravos Knights have scored 7 goals all season, a tally only better than Alphas & Citizens, the joint bottom in the Island Conference. They have, however, gained 10pts out of 15, the second best tally in the league only behind Dannaz FC. Bravos Knights are very efficient in their game play and this has seen them comfortably on the top of the Mainland Conference for the 2nd year in a row.

With a playoff spot already in the bag, they wrap up another successful Regular Season with a tie against Guns; a team they’ve beaten twice in their 2 previous league meetings. The scorelines of both games wouldn’t surprise you, they won both games 2-0.

Guns are in much better position than they found themselves on the last day of the 2017 Regular Season where they needed a miracle to make the playoffs. This time around, they need a draw to seal the deal. Mujeeb Oguntowo and Sylvester Ighedosa have been on fine form for the Guns this season as a duo with either one picking up form when the other has a little dip. They’ll not only be very key in this final game of the Regular Season; they’ll be extremely important to Guns in the playoffs should they seal that. While the Guns’ defense still leaves a lot to be desired, their attack has played its part in delivering 7pts out of a possible 15. For this game, the defense would have turn up and not concede 2 goals as they make this final push for a playoff.

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