Abia Warriors got an inspiring result as they forced Lobi Stars to a goalless draw in the Matchday 7 of Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) encounter on Sunday.
The pulsating match played at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi saw Lobi dominating the game but met a resolute Abia Warriors.
The two sides came to the match with contrasting fortunes, Lobi Stars fighting for the Nigeria Professional Football League title and Warriors struggling to stay afloat.
It was the Pride of Benue who created the first chance with striker Musa Najare failing to direct his header home in the third minute.
Warriors keeper Olorunleke Ojo did well to produce a routine save after five minutes.
Abia Warriors dusted themselves up and started to grow in the game.
Ugwuka Emmanuel had the opportunity to draw the curtain raiser. He fired tamely at goalkeeper Moses Ocheje despite being unmarked in the Stars box.
Coach Kabiru Dogo tweaked the team with few minutes to end the first half as he switched Samuel Tiza and Abdulkareem Mumini for Musa Najere and Thomas Zenke.
There was another big chance for Warriors with Ozioma Goodluck producing a thunderous strike which sailed wide.
Lobi Stars thought they had gone in front in the 31st minute when Douglas Achiv curled his effort past Ojo. But the goal was chalked off for offside.
The early part of second half saw both sides fell short of ideas as it was more of physical duels.
Abia could have take the lead few minutes after the hour mark but there was timely intervention from Lobi’s Aghahowa Alex to block Ugwuke’s goal bound shot to corner.
John Lazarus ghosted past Abia defenders but his effort went wide.
Lobi captain, Samuel Mathias took a low drive from outside the box but Olorunleke wasn’t threatened with it.
Another moments of dominance for the hosts when Chinonso and Mumini combined well to set up attack, Tiza’s shot was however gathered by Olorunleke.
Segun Alebiosu’s introduction in the closing added more bites to Lobi’s attack and it almost paid off with four minutes to go when he forced Olorunleke to a smart save.
Coach Kabiru Dogo who expressed disappointment with the result noted that his team failed to turn up as expected.
He also denied that his side missed the presence of Ossy Martins who is on suspension just as he promised that they would get better in the next game.
“Its a disappointing result for us, we failed to turn up and create our chances.
“We were expected to play better in the first half but I was happy with how we approached the game in the second half, thanks to their goalkeeper for wonderful saves, I’m sure we will step up in subsequent games,” he said.
Dogo’s counterpart from Abia Warriors, Imama Amapakabo expressed concern with his boys’ lack of cutting edge.
“It’s a league and every point matters a lot. We have been searching for three points for seven points. We have been able to put in our philosophy and make the boys understand how the game should be played,” the former Rangers boss mused.
“We created a lot of chances and couldn’t take it. The conversion has been a problem for us, the lapses noticed will be corrected.”
Lobi Stars are fifth on the ladder with 12 points from seven matches while 19th placed Abia Warriors have three points.