Lobi Stars’ fight against relegation suffered a setback yesterday after they lost 2-1 at Enyimba just as relegation threatened side Heartland brightened their hopes of survival with a commanding 2-0 win over title favourites, Rivers United in Owerri.
Although Lobi Stars forced Enyimba to a barren draw in the first half of the keenly contested fixture, the hosts got their breakthrough seven minutes into the second half when Samuel Kalu nodded past Aliko Mustapha from Sadiq Abubakar’s cross after a beautiful team move.
Lobi Stars pushed to level scores but it was Enyimba who doubled their lead with four minutes to full time when Samuel Stone scored the second goal after Austin Oladapo’s shot was deflected to his path in the visitors’ box.
However, the ‘Pride of Benue’ continued to fight and were rewarded with a consolatory goal at the death when Samuel Ganda capitalised on Enyimba’s sloppy defending to halve the deficit.
In Owerri, table toppers Rivers United pegged back desperate ‘Naze millionaires’ in the first half to end 0-0 but Sunday Chinedu broke the deadlock for the home side in the 54th minute after Chukwudi Nwaodu had missed the chance to put Heartland in front from the spot two minutes into the second half.
Chijike Mbaoma then sealed victory for Heartland with the second goal in the 61st minute when he sent Theophilus Afelokai the wrong way after a defence splitting pass from substitute Alexander Alfred.
And Munir Idris was the hero when he stabbed home the lone goal in the 18th minute to hand Niger Tornadoes 1-0 win over Gombe United at the Ahmadu Bello. Agency report