Lobi Stars hold Abia Warriors in Umuahia

Abia Warriors Football Club of Umuahia were forced to a one-all draw by Lobi Stars Football Club of Makurdi in a week 24 tie of the 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier Football League played at the Umuahia Township Stadium.

It was Abia Warriors first game in Umuahia since their return to their home ground after the league organisers granted them provisional approval to resume playing their home games at the Umuahia Township Stadium.

Coach Bethel Oji made two changes to the team that beat Kano Pillars at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano. Fabian Omaka and Ifeanyi Anaemena making way for Sunday Megwo and Emmanuel Onu.

As expected, Abia Warriors took the game to the visitors with Sunday Megwo spearheading the attack with incessant runs from the wings that kept Lobi Stars defence on edge.

The Warriors were forced to make an early substitution in the 37th minute when the injured Meme Okike was replaced by Samson Obi as the first half ended goalless.

A double substitution at the start of the second period saw the home side introduce Antoine Desouza and Fabian Omaka. The substitution had an instant effect on the game as Abia Warriors were all over the visitors, probing for goals.

In the 59th minute of play, Lobi Stars had their Keeper, Lucky Abdullahi to thank for keeping them level. A beautiful exchange of passes from the Warriors started with Obi’s marauding run into the visitors’ vital area, then a pass from him to Antoine, who connected Megwo and finally to Obi but his left footed grounder was parried away by the big goaltender. Big relief for the visitors.

However, with Abia Warriors incessant attacks, it was only a matter of time before the spectators could witness a goal, and so it came in the 70th minute. Another brilliant run from Antoine Desouza from the right side of Lobi Stars’ defence, saw him evade his marker as he released the ball to star midfielder Daniel Ijeh who was brought down inside the 18 yard box after beating his marker to the ball, and the centre referee pointed to the spot for a penalty to Abia Warriors.

Fabian Omaka took the decisive spot kick to put the home side in front, for his first goal for Abia Warriors.

Just when the home side thought it was all over, John Victor restored parity off a bullet of a freekick in the 3rd minute of added time. It was Lobi’s real chance at goal and they leveraged on it.

Up next for Abia Warriors is an Oriental derby against Heartland Football Club of Owerri at Awka City Stadium on Wednesday, 13th March 2024.

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