Late drama deny Lobi full points, Lokosa nets 16th goal

By George Akpayen

NPFL table-toppers Lobi Stars missed the opportunity to keep their six-point lead over the chasing pack by surrendering their one-goal lead in added time to draw 1-1 at Sunshine Stars on Sunday.

It was a return to familiar terrain for Lobi head coach Solomon Ogbeide who opted to leave his top scorer Samad Kadiri, also a former employee of Sunshine Stars on the bench.

Samad came off the bench in the second period and scored in the 89th minute and it looked like Lobi were heading back to Makurdi with the full points. However, Jide Fatokun levelled for Sunshine Stars in the second minute of added time to secure a point for his team. Before then, Lobi goalkeeper Olufemi Kayode saved Sikiru Alimi’s spot kick four minutes into the restart.

Lobi now hold a four-point lead at the top with Niger Tornadoes in second with 30 points.

Tornadoes held on to a first half goal converted from the spot by Abubakar Ndayebo to edge past MFM FC despite a late charge by the Lagos club to fight back.

LOKOSA INCHING CLOSER TO UDOH’S RECORD?

At the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano Pillars defeated bottom-placed Heartland 2-0. At the centre of the performance was the league’s leading scorer Junior Lokosa who scored a goal in each half — representing his 15th and 16th goals of the campaign.

Lokosa is now closing on Mfon Udoh’s 23-goal record for a single campaign. Udoh became the first player in the top division to net 20-plus goals in 2014 season which won him accolades including the League Bloggers Awards (LBA) Player of the Season in the NPFL.

RANGERS RUN OVER WIKKI

Seven-time champions Rangers were rampant at their Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium as they ran out 3-0 winners against Wikki Tourists. Godwin Aguda, Christian Madu and Kelvin Itoya scored for the Flying Antelopes who have now moved into a top-five place.

Anthonio Desousa and Michael Ohanu helped El-Kanemi Warriors ease their worries at the lower half of the log. El-Kanemi defeated Nasarawa United 2-0 with new boy Ohanu signed from Kwara United in the mid-season transfer window scoring on his debut.

Raphael Ayagwa’s goal from the spot in the second half was the difference as Plateau United defeated a gritty Katsina United 1-0.

Abia Warriors raced into a two-goal lead inside 50 minutes through Arinze Nwangwu and Ndifreke Effiong against Rivers United before Malachy Ohawume trimmed the lead to just a goal after the hour mark. Emmanuel Deutsch’s men held on to their slim lead to record only their sixth win of the term.

Three matches in the packed gameweek failed to produce goals — the signature tie between Enyimba and Akwa United ended goalless with the former playing all of the second half with a man less after their Ghanaian goalkeeper Fatau Dauda was sent off for violent conduct.

Go Round FC and FC Ifeanyiubah fired blanks in Omoku while Yobe Desert Stars and Kwara United also cancelled each other out.