Lobi Stars’ fight against relegation suffered a setback Sunday after they lost 0-1 to Akwa United in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) MatchDay 25 fixture played in Uyo.
Despite the loss, the ‘Pride of Benue’ are still 16th on the log with 26 points from 25 matches while the title holders maintained their unbeaten run since the arrival of their new technical adviser, Deji Ayeni from Sunshine Stars.Lobi Stars started strongly but Akwa United still basking in the euphoria of their 6-1 thrashing of Nasarawa United in week 24 soon took over proceedings as they camped in Lobi Stars half search of goals.
The visitors soaked the pressure and waited for opportunities for quick counter attacks but it was Akwa United who broke the deadlock when it was six minutes before half time.
New signing from Sunshine Stars, Babatunde Bello, scored the only goal of the match with a stunning 18-yard effort in the 39th minute.
On resumption, Lobi Stars in search of equaliser withdrew Bethel David for Pius Eyigege in the 46th minute but it was Akwa United’s captain, Ubong Friday who forced a save from Aliko Mustapha in goal for Lobi Stars.
Lobi Stars fought hard to level scores but Akwa United sustained pressure on the visitors’ defence for the week 25 fixture to end 1-0 in their favour.
At the Awka township stadium, title contenders, Enugu Rangers whitewashed Kwara United 3-0 with all the goals coming in the first half of the match.
Ossy Martins opened the scoring for Rangers in the 4th minute and bagged his brace in the 18th minute before Chidiebere Nwobodo sealed victory for Rangers with the third goal in the 15th minute.
Elsewhere, Gombe United laboured to a slim 1-0 win over Katsina United at the Pantami stadium.
Leading goalscorer, Abdulazeez Yusuf got the only goal of the match and his eleventh of the season in the 6th minute to hand the ‘Savannah scorpions’ the maximum points.
Week 25 matches will continue today as Plateau United host Remo Stars, Enyimba travel to Ibadan to face 3SC, Wikki Tourists entertain troubled Heartland in Bauchi while table topper, Rivers United battle Tornadoes in Port-Harcourt.