Anthony Okpotu and Cletus Itodo’s brilliant strikes helped seal a win for Lobi Stars as they defeated their fellow Nigeria Professional Football League counterpart in the first game of Matchday five (5), played inside the main bowl of Kwara Stadium llorin on Sunday.
The match started with all the intensity and fire you would expect from two NPFL bigwigs as the Pride of Benue harried and hounded the Pride of Rivers for the most part of the game and Anthony Okpotu announced his arrival in the tournament as he curled in a low drive from tight angle which beat Sunday Rotimi in goal for Rivers United, his second goal of the tournament.
Kanoute Abdulaye ought to have levelled the scores before the end of first stanza after being poked by Emeka Atuloma but his last strike was not convincing before Ebube Duru provided the needed clearance.
Lobi Stars’ silky display deep into second half is orchestrated by the vibrant Cletus Itodo who mesmerized and masterminded most of dangerous run and brilliant exchanges that rattled the Port Harcourt based team.
Ibrahim Salau darted forward dangerously in the far right of the pitch but was tripped down by onrushing Samuel Ganda, Ayobami Asekunowo delivered a perfect resultant cross into the area, with Cletus Itodo pouncing on a flick from Thomas Adesina and buried past Sunday Rotimi, for the second goal of the game.
Stanley Eguma later called on the likes of Austin Festus, Julius Gideon and Prince Aggrey but less spark were created by his bench as Rivers United attackers were silenced by Lobi Stars defensive set up.
The final result shows that Lobi Stars have regained the leadership of Group A with five (5) points same with Kano Pillars but with superior goal difference.
Coach Solomon Ogbeide disclosed to Gold Cup Media after the pulsating encounter that approaching the game with different tactics and formation from the last matches became necessary in order to access his players.
Stanley Eguma on the other hand is optimistic of qualifying from the group as he promised to work on their exposed areas. He revealed that the defeat will bring the best out of the team as they match up joint group leader Kano Pillars in an all important cracker tomorrow evening.