Chinonso Okonkwo came off the bench in the second half to score a brace as Lobi Stars staged a remarkable comeback to beat Jigawa Golden Stars on Sunday.
The match played at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi was one of Matchday 19 fixtures of the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL.
Chinonso’s goals canceled out Ibrahim Umar’s first-half goal for the spirited visitors who showed character, especially in the first half. It was an end-to-end moment in the opening 10 minutes of the game as both sides showed purpose.
Ossy Martins went close with a space to take aim at goal from close range but Ibrahim Umar did well to block the danger.
Jigawa top man, Stone got free from the flank but he dragged his effort wide from goal. The visitors took a shock lead in the 21st minute when they attacked in numbers to crowd out Lobi in their goal area and Umar decided to shoot from the crowded legs. The shot blindsided goalkeeper Ocheje.
Lobi responded with series of attacks seeking to level up but fell short of ideas in their finishing coupled with good goalkeeping from Sochi Victor.
Coach Kabiru Dogo made changes early in the second half with both Chinonso and Akile replacing Tersoo Zenke and the misfiring Ogunye. That paid off soon paid as Chinonso became the savior for the Pride of Benue with two quick goals. His first came under five minutes of the restart when he finished off a through pass from Ossy.
The former Enyimba forward was also on hand to tap home a rebound after Jigawa keeper, Sochi Victor spilled a shot from Douglas Achiv.
Ogwuche Anthony would make a goal-line clearance that protected their 2-1 lead after a threatening corner kick from Andrew Idoko. Stone also had a chance to even the scoreline for Jigawa with about a quarter of an hour left in the game, muscling his way to Lobi’s goal area only to hit it too wide from the target.
What could have also been Chinonso’s hat trick was well taken care of by Sochi as the Jigawa keeper read his curling effort well to make a parry.
The hosts would however drop the tempo and managed the game to earn the match points.
Lobi Stars are 9th on the NPFL log with 28 points while Jigawa Golden Stars picked 22 points to stay 14th on the table.