MATCH REPORT- Lobi Stars Hold Enyimba In Dour Draw
|January 14, 2018||4:00 pm||Nigeria Professional Football League||NPFL 2017/2018||1|
|Aper Aku Stadium|
|Lawrence Onoja Road, Makurdi, Nigeria|
Aftermath of the recent herdsmen attack, the atmosphere around the arena was tensed as an unprecedented security network was weaved around the stadium and its environs.
Stern-looking security personnel scrutinized spectators before they entered the premises just as they were monitored closely at the stands. And while the match was on, a helicopter hovered over the arena.
A game earlier billed to provide top notch entertainment, struggled to ignite fireworks on the pitch. It was a case of who was missing on both sides as those listed hardly lived up to expectation.
Enyimba lacked creativity in the middle of the park as Dare Ojo, Chinedu Udeagha and Stanley Dimgba could not string passes together. This left many wondering what would have been if they had injured Ikechukwu Ibenegbu and CHAN-listed Austin Oladapo.
In attack they also missed the bullish presence of Mustapha Ibrahim, who is also involved with the CHAN Eagles just as Benjamin Francis could not light up the left back reminiscent of Ikouwem Udoh also away on national duty in Morocco.
The home side’s performance also left a lot to be desired. They missed Raphael Ayagwa’s drive from central midfield as well as David Tyavkase’s long range canons as Cletus Itodo’s ageing legs failed to drive the team forward. Ayo Saka could not fare better.
Lobi looked up to Ezekiel Mbah for inspiration but he only huffed and puffed all over the place.
The most pathetic department in the Lobi team was the attack where they were without last season’s top scorer, Anthony Okpotu, away in Morocco and Kingsley Eduwo, who is set to join CS Sfaxien of Tunisia.
Their shoes seemed too big for Thomas Adeshina to fill but he still came close enough in the 20th and 33rd minutes. In the 20th minute, he waltzed into the box but had his effort saved by keeper Fatau Dauda while in the 33rd minute, he nodded Ebube Duru’s cross inches wide.
Incidentally, the standout performer for the home side was left back Duru, who, by the way, was courted by Enyimba all through the transfer window. He showed them what they missed and buttressed Lobi vice-chairman, Mike Idoko’s tough stance in letting the People’s Elephant sign Duru.
While Duru shone for Lobi, Wasiu Alalade proved a good acquisition by Enyimba. He was the most dangerous player in white.
Largely a lacklustre game. The excuse could, however, be that it is still early days. Perhaps a case could be made for continuity in the teams as both teams paraded many new faces.
Enyimba opened scores in the 39th minute when Alalade nutmegged Harrison Ibukun before teeing up Udeagha for a tap-in.
Mbah converted a penalty in the 65th minute to level up scores after Mannir Ubale had been fouled by Olayinka Onaolapo.
Lobi Stars 1-1 Enyimba
On target: 2-2
Yellow card: 1-0