NPFL Matchday 14: Nasarawa United Pip Lobi Stars In North-central Derby
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By Eche Amos
Nasarawa United FC entertained Lobi Stars FC of Makurdi in a fierce North-Central Derby at the refurbished Lafia City Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Both teams went into the game with mixed results from their last games, with United losing 0-1 in Lagos while Lobi won 2-1 at home.
The Solid Miners, desperate for the three points, unleashed a squad that would weather the storm against a Lobi side that paraded four former players of United, including coach, Kabiru Dogo, who once led the Lafia-based team.
An exciting first- half saw the border neighbours’ John Lazarus and Douglas Achiv calling Danlami Umar, in goal for United, into difficult saves.
United responded almost immediately, Silas Nwankwo released Chidi Solomon at the far end, but the latter was flagged offside to the frustration of the home side’s bench.
Toward the climax of the first half, Dauda Maigishiri found Adamu Hassan inside the box, but the former Kano Pillars’ attacker’s acrobatic effort could not get to its desired destination.
Forty-nine minutes and ten seconds was how long the game lasted for United to take the lead against their bitter rivals.
Silas Nwankwo headed down Dauda Maigishiri’s corner kick toward the direction of free-standing Ikenna Offor who wasted no time to slot home from close range.
United pushed forward for the second goal in the 54th minute but for the woodwork which denied Chidi Solomon’s well-placed low shot after a crafty pass from Victor Okoro.
The closing stages were tense as United looked to make the most of their possession advantage.
The sound of the full-time whistle in the much-talked- about North-Central derby match sealed it – three very big and important points for the Solid Miners as they moved up to 5th position on the league table, with twenty-three points from fourteen games.
United will take a trip to Akure to face Sunshine Stars in a week’s time.
Coach Bala Nikyu(NAS): “It was a great match.
“Actually, we needed the maximum points so desperately after the unfavourable result in Lagos, and I am glad we got it.
“We can now shift our attention to the next game in Akure against Sunshine Stars.”
Coach Kabiru Dogo (LOBI): “Congratulations to Nasarawa United. They deserved the result.
“In the second half, they played better than my team and a slight loss of concentration secured victory for them.
“I know so much is expected from me by my employers and fans of the Club, but it is not over yet as the league is still a marathon.”
Ikenna Offor(NAS/MVP): “Scoring the only goal in a derby match like this and emerging as the best player is something worth celebrating.
“I was actually anticipating that pass from Silas(Nwankwo) and luckily I properly utilised it.
“I intend to keep this form going as our Coach keeps dishing out instructions for our improvement.
“Against our next opponents in Akure, we will approach every game as it comes