A last-minute error by Rivers United goalkeeper, Victor Sochima saw Lobi Stars leave the Mobolaji Johnson Arena with all three points.
19-year-old Charles Chibuike, largely called “Osimhen”, by fans, won the game for Lobi Stars against Rivers United with the last kick of the game, Soccernet.ng reports.
Bala Abubakar’s side triumphed over Rivers United in the Naija Super8 Group B fixture. The one-time league winners came from behind to secure all three points. The game seemed to be one-sided at first, with Rivers United having the Lion’s share of the ball possession, and in the thirty-first minute, they took the lead through Albert Kovah, although a deflection took the keeper out of the equation.
New Lobi signing, David Okoromi caused all sorts of problems for the Rivers backline, taunting the defenders and tormenting them with pace, and it wouldn’t take long before the debutant made an impact. A quick link-up on the right side of the field with Jonathan Lazarus saw a deflected pass make way to the 21-year-old forward, and he wasted no time in volleying the ball home for the equalizer in the seventy-first minute. The former Niger Tornadoes man had to be subbed off afterwards due to injury.
Rivers United threw everything forward in search of a win, and that eventually came back to haunt them as Lobi absorbed the pressure and hit on the break with a counterattack, and came close in the eighty-second minute, but a touchline clearance by Rivers Kazie Enyinnaya saw the score remain level, but it wouldn’t remain level for that long. An overlapping run from Agbaji Antony saw him square the ball along the box, and what initially seemed to be a comfortable claim by the Rivers goalkeeper, Victor Sochima, turned into a spill, and Charles Chibuike, on his debut as well, wasted no time to tap in to score the winner in the last minute of the game, and the fans went wild, chanting Osimhen!.
Rivers United coach, Stanley Eguma, in his post-match presser, speaking to Soccernet.ng, He said;
“I think we mismanaged the game at some point. I am not disappointed, but it is painful to lose this way because we took the lead, they equalized and the game was already gone. A little bit of carefulness, a little bit of concentration and the game could’ve ended up all-square, but football sometimes can be funny, you lose and you cannot explain. It is good for these mistakes to happen now than to happen in the Continental competitions.”
Lobi Stars coach, Bala Abubakar, however, maintained positivity. He said;
“I am happy to win my first game as a coach of Lobi Stars. They were the previous Champions and it means a lot for us to win today.”
When quizzed about if his team could go all the way to win the Naija Super 8 trophy, the coach said;
“Our goal, for now, is to make the Semi-final. We’ve only been training for a week, and we want to get used to our style, so the semi-final, for now, will be a true test of our abilities.”
Lobi Stars take on Yobe Desert Stars on Tuesday, by 2 pm, while Rivers United play against Akwa United much later on the same day. All the games will be played at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos State.