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Lobi Stars’ hope of playing in the super six has been brightened following the impressive performance of youngsters Joseph Atule and Suur Kumaga, which helped the Makurdi-based side to humble stubborn Dakkada 2-1 on match day 7 clash at the new Jos Township stadium.
The combination of the young lads provided the maximum points for Lobi Stars, who remain top of group B with two matches left to end the first stanza of the abridged league.
Having dropped two points last Sunday in the north central derby clash against Niger Tornadoes in Kaduna, the team was poised to dislodge any obstacle on the way to help maintain a one hundred percent start at home.
The visitors had a shot on Lobi Stars’ goalpost less than 3 minutes into the game when Kunfre Ebong released a powerful strike on goal, but the home team’s goalkeeper, Emmanuel Daniel, seem not to be troubled by the threat.
The “Shoe Get Size” boys grew into the game with the needed urge, producing numerous exciting moments as they terrorized the visitor’s backline, notably with Suur Kumaga and Atule coming close to breaking the deadlock in less than 8 minutes, but unfortunately missing the attempts.
However, Lobi’s sensational winger Atule got the curtain-raiser for Lobi in the 9th minute after receiving a well-through pass from Abba Umar, which split the visitor’s defense. The winger kept his composure to beat goalkeeper Badmus Nurudeen from close range to put his team ahead 1-0.
The former Kastina United pacy winger would have doubled the lead but he missed a penalty kick that was awarded when Arise Ogundare blocked Annas Hassan’s header with his hand in the 18-yard box, leaving the center referee with no option but to point to the spot.
The visitors sat back as they relied on the counterattack to exploit, though Kunfre again came close before the half but failed to utilize his opportunity as the first half ended 1-0.
After the interval, Suur Kumaga registered his name on the score sheet in the 47th minute, scoring with a powerful header into the opponent’s box that caught goalkeeper Badmus flat-footed, courtesy of a beautiful cross from overlapping-wing back Monday Akile, to put Lobi Stars 2-0 up in the entertaining encounter.
The visitors reduced the deficit to 2-1 in the 53rd minute when versatile right-back John Lazarus, unintentionally deflected Adewale Lasisi’s shot into his net for an own goal.
The Uyo-based side came close to leveling the scores in stoppage time from a well-taken free kick by Aniekan Ekpe. However, Lobi Stars goalkeeper Emmanuel proved why he was trusted in goal by pulling a spectacular save which kept the scoreline 2-1 upon the Final whistle.
Reacting to newsmen shortly after the match, Lobi Stars Assistant Coach, Tar Akombo, expressed happiness over the victory.
“Generally I’m happy no matter how the visitors put pressure, the most important thing is we have gotten the three points, we’ll go back to the drawing board and fix things where we are lacking behind”, he stated.
Dakkada FC’s Head Coach, Umar Danlami Kwasau said it was a good game.
“We came here with a winning thought but it happens to be like this, no problem, we take it and look forward to working on another game”.
Lobi Stars will face Wikki Tourists in the match day 8 fixture on Wednesday, in Bauchi.