Elijah Ani’s penalty earned a crucial point for Lobi Stars as the visitors shared points in a 1-1 draw against relegation-threatened side Dakkada FC at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.
Second-half substitute Akinlade Lanre headed on goal to put the host in a comfortable zone in front of their teeming supporters, but Elijah Ani Stood firm with great composure and restored parity for the visitors from the spot after Joseph Atule was brought down into the box by Karim Abdoulaye
The Makurdi-based side started the encounter with the needed intent, surging forward with dominant ball possession that forced the host team to sit back during the early proceedings as they search for an early opener. However, the beautiful opportunities the visitors created to go ahead before the halftime break failed to break the deadlock as they lacked the cutting edge.
Dakkada goalkeeper, Edidiong Usoro stood firm to deny the trio of Abba Umar, Elijah Ani, and Joseph Atule from putting the visitors ahead. On the other side, the visitor’s goalie Daniel Emmanuel was on alert when he was called upon in the 31st minute to stop Alkasim Yusuf’s efforts to end the first half 0-0.
Returning to the last stanza of the fierce battle, the head coach of the group B table toppers made some tactical changes. The gaffer pulled off the duo of Abba Umar and Mustapha Dan Azimi, and introduced Anas Hassan and Suur Kumaga, for more offensive play.
Coach Danlami Kwasau of Dakkada FC was not exempted from making changes as the gaffer replaced Kufre Ebong and Ifanyi Assurance, with Jonathan Prosper and Akinlade Lanre.
It was the host that broke the deadlock through Akinlade Lanre in the 46th minute to change the scoreline to 1-0, the substitute nodded a corner kick that hit the target to put the relegation-threatened side in a driving seat.
However, their wide jubilations were cut short in the 64th minute when former Rangers International top man, Elijah Ani restored parity for the former NPFL champion when he stood firm and converted the penalty to change the scoreline to 1-1 after Atule was brought down in the box, the decision which left the centre referee with no option than to point to the spot.
The visitors pushed forward for the remaining minutes in search of another goal, but their efforts were proved abortive as the host defended to thwart their efforts upon the final whistle.
With this draw, Lobi Stars have accumulated 30 points from 17 matches to guarantee a playoff ticket. The Makurdi-based side remains at the top of the Group B league table.
The last game of the NPFL season will see the Shoe Gets Size host Wikki Tourists of Bauchi at her adopted home in Jos.
Credit: Lobi Stars Media