Lobi Stars had to dig deep into the last minutes of the match to grind out an 88th minute penalty converted by Austine Ogunye to secure victory in a tough duel against Dakkada at the Aper Aku stadium, Makurdi.
The young lads from Uyo proved a tough nut to crack showing resilience, fitness to contest every move and covering every inch of the field to twarth efforts at dominance by Lobi Stars.
But the determination to sustain their winning home run was evident with coach Kabiru Dogo keeping faith in Ossy Martins leading the attack. It was his profligacy in front of goal that would deny the team a goals’ harvest.
In spite of the consistent pressure from the right where Zenke Thomas was running out the Dakkada defence and Mathias Samuel providing splitting passes, Ossy Martins was a shadow of himself as he frittered away most of the chances that came his way.
Skipper Mathias Samuel rose to the occasion with a sublime display from the dead ball situation to curve in a free kick with the right foot from about 20 yards leaving keeper Thomas Omokhudu rooted to the spot as the ball sailed in for the opener.
Dakkada fought back with Nnamdi Mejuobi tormenting the Lobi rear with his deft touches and dribbling runs. One of such confrontation led to a clash with Adeleye Aniyikaye in the 31st which resulted in the Lobi defender cropping an ankle injury in an effort to curtail Mejuobi’s advances towards goal. He was replaced by Alex Aghahowa who also kept eyes on the resilient Dakkada attack.
Dakkada forays into the Lobi defence paid off in the 70th after referee Faro Abdulrahman over-ruled a goal kick and ordered for a corner kick to the visitors. Arinze Obuka’s corner kick found an unmarked Christian Ekong who headed in the equaliser.
As the match wore off with anxiety on the home side and the visitors looking for a point on the road, it was the visitors that had the misfortune with two minutes to the end of the game as Olawale Doyeni impeded advancing Chinonso Okonkwo in the box and the referee signalled for a penalty.
Austin Ogunye stepped forward to convert the kick and secure victory for Lobi.
The victory was described by coach Kabiru Dogo as the needed impetus for Lobi to remain focused in the quest to winning the league shield.
“Our focus is to be consistent in picking points both home and away; today’s game though was tough but we have to dig deep to surmount the hard fighting Dakkada team. We remain focused on our target which is the league shield and we are determined for that”.
His counterpart managing Dakkada, Lawrence Kingsley believed that the last minute lack of concentration denied his young side from securing a draw in the game.
“We have a young team that is thirsty for glory and we are ready to confront the bigger teams which we exhibited today but for the last minute mistake, a draw would have been better for us.“