By Wale Mustapha
Lobi Stars returned to winning ways following a slim 1-0 win over Kano Pillars in the Matchday 11 of the Nigeria Professional Football League, (NPFL) encounter on Sunday.
The match played at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi saw the fifth minute goal by match captain Austin Ogunye making the difference.
Lobi went into the match with the mindset to end their five games winless run and their mission was all too clear from the start of the match.
Ossy Martins almost connected with Ebube Duru’s cross from the edge of the box but Pillars’ captain, Rabiu Ali cleared to corner.
Lobi took the lead a minute after with Austin Ogunye tapping in from Lazarus John’s low cross.
Pillars responded with immediate attack and could have level up the score line when Ali located Ali Auwalu on the flank, but his cross was cleared to corner by Alex Aghahowa before it could get to Nwagua Nyima.
Pillars thought they have scored in the 11 minutes when Rabiu Abbas scored from Maigoro’s pass but was flagged offside.
Lobi would soon regain control of the game and could have increased their lead but were denied several times by impressive Ibrahim Idris.
Pillars’ last effort of the first half came from Rabiu Ali but that attempt was cleared off the line by Nnamdi Mejuobi.
The second half was more of a drab one as both sides couldn’t take much of their chances.
Both Coach Kabiru Dogo and Lionel Soccia effected changes midway through the second half but couldn’t yield much positives.
As the game wore on, Kano Pillars’ substitute Salisu Mustapha forced a smart save by Emma Daniel.
Coach Kabiru Dogo expressed delight as his side ended their winless run in the league and said the victory would give Lobi confidence going into subsequent games.
Dogo told npfl.ng that Lobi would aim to get their first win on the road as they will be taking on Adamawa United on Thursday.
“We are very happy for this victory, I want to appreciate everyone for the result because its what we’ve been looking forward to, it wasn’t an easy game. That’s why we were able to manage the second half as we were leading.
“We hope this will give us more confidence in our next game, we will not underrate any team but we believe this result will give us. confidence against them,” he said.
Coach Lionel Soccia of Kano Pillars said he side couldn’t stage the needed comeback in the second half and also berated Lobi Stars for holding up game to run down the clock.
“I feel pain we lost because we couldn’t play as we wanted to, they (Lobi) go down every minutes to delay the game and I think that’s not the way for premier league side to play.”
Kano Pillars will next host Sunshine Stars on Wednesday while Lobi travel to Gombe to face Adamawa United on Thursday.
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