Omokaro’s strike hands Bendel Insurance first win of season

By Fred Edoreh

Charles Omokaro provided the glorious moment for Bendel Insurance in a Matchday 6 fixture of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) as they edged CAF Champions League campaigners 1-0 at the UNIBEN Sports Complex on Monday.

With several chances not converted by the Benin City side in the first half, the first 45 minutes ended scoreless.

Insurance returned with a quick substitution as Meyiwa Oritseweyinmi replaced Emmanuel Uangbaje in the 48th while Lobi responded by sending on striker Najeem Olukokun for Yaya Kone ten minutes later.

Somehow it was the change made by Insurance’s bench that worked wonders as things began to take shape for the home team attack-wise. Junior Osaghae combined well with Charles Omokaro who received his assist in the 68th minute to slot the ball beyond the reach of Lobi goalkeeper John Lawrence to give them the lead.

The visitors reacted swiftly taking the fight to the hosts for almost the remaining period but all their efforts yielded nothing as Insurance keeper Amas Obasogie picked up Austin Ogunye’s well powered long range effort in the 71st minute as well as Dare Ojo’s strike immediately after.

The Benin City outfit however have their stars to thank as Samuel Mathias failed to connect Ojo’s pass in front of goal in the 78th minute. The situation did not change as Insurance protected their slim lead till full-time.

Bendel Insurance assistant coach Baldwin Bazuaye believes they will improve as the season progresses after their first win of the campaign.

“Lobi Stars are a very good side that is currently representing the country at the continental stage, so picking the maximum points proved that my boys need just a little push more,” Bazuaye said.

On the spate of missed chances Bazuaye insisted the team will improve on their shooting accuracy.

“It is this same players that brought the team up to the NPFL and they scored goals. They sure will improve better as we progress,” he said.

Alluding to the light showers that seized the weather with about 25 minutes into the encounter, Lobi head coach Solomon Ogbeide said “the atmospheric condition” and fatigue on the part of his boys contributed to the day’s result.

“Bendel Insurance played well but we just played a continental game just last weekend. We need some rest,” Ogebide said.