Naija Super 8: Lobi Beat Akwa United To Qualify For Semis As Rivers United Pip Yobe In Dead Rubber

Lobi Stars defeated Akwa United 2-0 on Wednesday in their last Naija Super 8 Group B encounter at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Onikan, Lagos, to qualify for the semi-finals as group winners. The Makurdi side topped the group with seven points from three games, while Akwa United finished second with six points.

Lobi Stars started the game knowing that a draw would be enough to qualify, while Akwa United had already booked a semi-final slot with two wins from two matches.

15 minutes into the game, a cross from the right side found its way to Joseph Atule, who was left unmarked in the six-yard box. The winger chested the ball into an open goal to give Lobi Stars the lead. The winger doubled Lobi Stars’ lead eight minutes later after he was put through on goal to slot past the goalkeeper.

Atule’s movement proved difficult to handle for the Akwa United defence, and he almost bagged a first-half hat-trick when his left-footed shot narrowly missed the top corner. Gift Elkanah then produced a good save to deny Lobi Stars a third goal in the 42nd minute.

Despite having less of the possession, Lobi Stars continued to fashion the best chances in the match. Elkenah again denied the Makurdi side in the 55th minute with a fingertip save to parry Okoromi David’s looping shot over the bar.

In his post-match interview, Lobi Stars coach, Bala Abubakar, said his team now plays with hunger and character, adding that they would be ready for any opponent in the semi-finals. “Lobi Stars is still a work in progress. We have changed the mentality of the players and our performance in this tournament shows we are on track. What Lobi Stars needed was to have a style, character, adequate preparation for matches and winning mentality. That is why you are seeing a different Lobi Stars in this tournament. We will be ready to face any team that qualifies for the semi-finals,” he said.

After losing top spot in the group, Akwa United coach, Fatai Osho said the objective was to give room for other players to perform. He said: “We were torn between qualifying as group leader or achieving our objective of giving players room to showcase what they can do. Now everybody in the team has played. The semi-finals will not be a tea party. It will be a lot of work and we will do our best.”

In the other group match, Rivers United beat Yobe Desert Stars 1-0 to take third spot in the group. Kazie Enyinnaya scored the winning goal in the 25 minute of the match. Rivers United finished the match with ten men after one of their players received a straight red card in the 87th minute.

The other two semi-final slots will be decided on Thursday when Sporting Lagos and Katsina United face each other in the final Group A match, starting at 4:30pm. Katsina United currently sit top of the table on goal difference with four points from two games. Sporting Lagos are second with four points from two games. Remo Stars are third with four points from three matches, while Enyimba have been eliminated from the competition after losing two of their three matches.

Credit: Newsbreak

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