Substitute Chukwuka Onuwa scored a decisive goal on Sunday as Lobi Stars secured victory over Enyimba in one of the Matchday 8 fixtures of the Nigeria Professional Football League, (NPFL) played in Makurdi.
It was a goal needed for Lobi Stars to earn the match points and for the midfielder to put an end to nearly three years without a goal.
The tactically filled game played at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi, Benue State saw Enyimba gaining the upper hand in the first half but fell short of an initiative to put their nose in front.
Lobi regained control in the second half after Coach Eddy Dombraye made some tactical changes that would yield a positive result for the side and earned them the victory.
The first half of the game didn’t produce many moments of magic as both sides matched each other strength for strength.
The first real chance came in the 17th minute when Lobi won a free kick in Enyimba’s half but Ufere Chinedu headed wide delivery from Raphael Ayagwa.
Emeka Obioma had Enyimba’s first opportunity in the 22nd minute after receiving a brilliant pass from Samuel Kalu but his effort was denied by Ebedibeni Endurance with only Stanley Nwabali to beat.
Enyimba though they’ve won a penalty in the 25th minute when Odinnaka Francis was adjudged to have shoved Ekene Awazie off the ball but the referee disagreed.
The visitors maintained a dominant spell with teamwork from Tosin Omoyele, Kalu and Obioma, unfortunately, they could not make it count.
The second half was more explosive as the purpose and intent levels increased but more one-sided as it was Lobi Stars who dominated most parts of it.
Ogba and Shobowale went close to getting the goal in the opening minutes into restart but were denied by excellent defending and intelligent goalkeeping.
Coach Dombraye beckoned on his eventual match-winner, Onuwa and Monday Akile whose introduction changed the tempo of the match.
Onuwa, who joined Lobi Stars from Enyimba and Gabriel Wassa combined soon after and almost got a goal for Lobi but Ojo Olorunleke was on hand to pick the delivery.
The lone goal of the match would soon come on 79th minutes when Onuwa picked up a pass from Ayagwa and went on brilliant moves before taking a shot at the edge of the box to beat Olorunleke.
The Peoples Elephants tried to stage a comeback with few minutes to end the game with the introduction of Austin Oladapo and Imo Obot but Lobi held on to secure the win.
Lobi Stars moved to seventh on the log with eight points while Enyimba occupies 11th position with 10 points.
The Pride of Benue will next take on Sunshine Stars in Ijebu Ode while Enyimba will host Nasarawa United in Aba.
|Date||Time||League||Season||Match Day||Full Time|
|January 23, 2022||4:00 pm||NPFL||2021/2022||8||90'|
|Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi|