Atule’s brace propels Lobi Stars to Fed Cup quarter-finals

By David Ngobua

Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) giants, Lobi Stars of Makurdi have stormed into the quarterfinals of this year’s Federation Cup quarter-finals after they fought back to edge out hard fighting Bendel Insurance Feeders of Benin City 3-1 yesterday in Owerri.

Although the Round of 16 match played at the Dan Anyiam Stadium started on Wednesday evening, it had to be stopped in the 36th minute due to a heavy downpour with Lobi Stars leading 2-1.

The remaining minutes were concluded yesterday morning and Lobi Stars’ fleet-footed attacking winger, Joseph Atule, was the hero as he scored another goal to extinguish any fight in the opponents for his team to reach the quarter-finals for the second time in two years.

On Wednesday, the young ‘Benin Arsenals’ drew the first blood as early as the 7th minute on when Sylvester Nweka benefitted from a loose ball in the opponents’ goal area to hit a low shot that beat goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel.

However, the lead didn’t last long as Nigeria’s junior international, Kumaga Suur, restored parity for Lobi Stars in the 28th minute after he scored at the near post off a well measured pass from Abba Umar.

Four minutes later, former Katsina United star, Atule gave Lobi Stars the lead with a spectacular goal but as the ‘Shoe get size boys’ went in search of more goals to finish off the opponents, the heavens opened up and it began to rain heavily, forcing officials to stop proceedings.

When play resumed yesterday, Atule scored his brace from the spot in the 44th minute after his strike partner, Suur was brought down in the box by an opposing defender.

The second half failed to produce more goals as Lobi Stars ran away with a 3-1 victory.

The ‘Pride of Benue’ will battle Nigerian National League (NNL) side, Warri Wolves in the quarterfinals on Sunday, May 28 in IjebuOde, Ogun State.

To set up the potentially explosive clash with Lobi Stars, Wolves eliminated NPFL side

Gombe United 1-0 in Abuja on Wednesday.

In other quarter-final pairings, former champions Bendel Insurance will trade tackles with Sunshine Stars, Plateau United confront Kwara United in northcentral derby while Doma United square up with Enugu Rangers in another clash of NPFL clubs.






Media Trust Limited