Nigerian Professional Football League
After Lobi Stars were thrashed 4-1 last Sunday in Jos, it was not unexpected that they would come out smoking on Matchday 2 of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) against new boys Delta Force.
The defeat in Jos was one that Coach Gbenga Ogunbote would describe as “a disgraced, an insult,”. But then, their venting on Delta Force was maximum as they netted four unreplied goals.
Goals from Tiza Samuel (30’), Sikiru Alimi (69’), Abdulkareem Mumuni (76’) and Chinedu Udeagha (83’) put paid to any dreams the visitors had of even salvaging a draw.
As early as the 5th minute, Lobi showed the desire to score early, as Tiza Samuel profited from a loose ball in the box but was quickly dispossessed by Ogunleye Olayemi, before he could make a decision.
Two minutes after, the hosts made a huge move to go forward, when Chinedu Ugdeagha broke loose but was adjudged to have been offside.
On the 8th minute, the visitors attempted to go forward, with Emmanuel Nnamani latching onto Moshood Kasali’s through-pass. He let fly a scary one, Daniel, in goal for the hosts, did well to parry for a corner.
The stadium stood in shock when, on the 21st minute, the visitors were thought to have gone in front when Effimi Nsi rose highest to meet Pascal Eze’s free-kick but the referee ruled for offside, The sighs of relief in the home fans was infectious
Samaad Kadiri would attempt to replace the sighs with applause when on the 29th minute, he rose highest to meet a cross from out wide and the fans stood up in anticipation, only to see his perfect nod plucked by Orire, in goal for Delta Force.
A minute after, Chinedu Udeagha’s well-timed cross sailed into the box and Tiza rose highest to meet it, beating the imposing Orire.
Meanwhile, the visitors struggled to do anything meaningful upfront and, when they attempted to go forward through Kasali, every time, he ended up on the ground, stared down by Reuben Ogbonnaya. The latter won every aerial ball, every contest and every duel both went in for. It was no surprise he earned the accolade of Man of the Match.
As the half neared its end, Lobi kept wasting chance after chance, to the consternation of their fans who cursed aloud and Ogunbote, who watched in discomfort from the sidelines.
Whatever pep talk he delivered at half-time did the trick. They picked where they left off on the 60th minute, when Tiza, Raphael Ayagwa, and Sikiru Alimi linked up for a great triangular play, only for their final touch to fail, as the ball rolled out of play.
Alimmi kick-started the rout plan when, on the 66th minute, he danced around his markers, controlled with his left and struck powerfully.
He attempted to make it three minutes later when he took on the goalie; beating him, but tipped the ball a little too wide off the mark.
However, on the 76th minute, Mumini, who came on for Samad, dispossessed Pascal, looked up and struck into the top left corner of helpless Orire’s goal to make it three for the hosts. The fans who may not have anticipated this convincing lead responded with crazy celebrations.
Lobi smelled blood and could not resist going for the kill and it was the unlikely hero, Doug Archiv, quiet all day, that completed the demolition. Slipping past four defenders, he shot past the on-rushing Orire, seven minutes from regulation time.
The win sees Lobi earn three points heading into their visit to Kano Pillars, while Delta Force still have a point.