Enyimba defeated Lobi Stars 1-0 on Monday afternoon at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos in the first match of Day 2 of the Nigeria Football League Super Six playoffs.
Emeka Obioma scored the only goal of the encounter in the 16th minute via a header from a cross that had goalkeeper Atsaka Daniel stranded.
Into the game, Coach Finidi George made four tactical changes to his squad that were held to a 2-2 draw by Remo last Saturday. In contrast, the Baba Ganaru-led Lobi Stars made just one substitution to their last match-day starting 11 against the Bendel Insurance squad.
The People’s Elephants were kept at bay by Lobi Stars, who dominated the first quarter of the game, but Enyimba made the breakthrough in the 16th minute after Emeka Obioma headed a cross into Lobi Stars’ box for his second in the tournament.
Despite conceding a soft goal, Lobi Stars kept up their pursuit of salvaging the game, as a 28th-minute chance that fell to Joseph Atule was not taken. Atule had waltzed past two Enyimba defenders-Pascal Eze and Chigozie Chilekwu, but Olorunleke Ojo saved the goal-bound effort.
Ojo again denied the Benue-based side with four minutes to go at the end of the first half, pulling off another save from Wasiu Alalade’s shot.
The Peoples’ Elephants then had the chance to double their lead through Somiari Alilibo as the first half wound down, but goalkeeper Daniel parried the effort away to end the half with Enyimba in the lead.
In the 70th minute, Kamanga Surr had one of the brightest chances for Lobi Stars in the second half, but the forward miscued his attempt into the hands of Ojo, who was well-positioned to save.
Finidi George, Enyimba Coach
“I am very happy we got three points. Playing at 2 p.m., we must commend both teams and at the end of the day. I am happy for my boys. Yes, of course, after every victory, I think the motivation will be very high, and we will see how we will get the boys to recover as quickly as possible and maybe make one or two changes for our next game.”
Baba Ganaru, Lobi Stars Coach
“The boys did very well, but the most important thing in the game of football is to get the goals. My team was very wasteful today; we created so many goal-scoring chances but we were unable to take it. See how we conceded a very cheap goal from the goalkeeper? We had two to three chances, and we couldn’t take it. That’s football. If you don’t use your chances, you are finished.
“We will go and talk to them psychologically and see how they can come up. We have three matches to go, and anything can happen.”
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