Match Report: Lobi Stars put Rivers United to the sword in Makurdi

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Substitute Nanen Imenger scored in the closing stages for Lobi Stars to hand Rivers United a 1-0 defeat in the Nigeria Professional Football League match played at the Aper Aku stadium in Makurdi.
Lobi Stars’ Anthony Okpotu saw his penalty saved by Rivers United goalkeeper Femi Thomas in the second-half before Imenger won all three points condemning Rivers United to yet another fruitless journey.
The Host almost drew first blood as early as six minutes into the game when Akeleche Sunday’s beautiful cross was met by Anthony Okputu’s header which was off target.
It was bad news for Rivers United with minutes of the game gone when captain Festus Austin went down  after a hefty challenge. He was stretchered out in the 23rd minute and replaced by Ayobami Asekunowo. He remains a doubt for next Tuesday’s CAF Confederation Cup game against KCCA of Uganda.
Bernard Ovoke almost gave United the lead in the 32nd minute when his low drive was blocked by Lobi Stars defenders around the penalty area. The first half ended goalless for both sides.
Star man of the day Akeleche Sunday was the first to show the intent of Lobi Stars as he shot wide from 16 yards.
Minutes later Lobi Stars were awarded a penalty. Step forward Lobi’s Hitman Anthony Okpotu to take it, but his kick was saved by Femi Thomas.
Lobi Stars gaffer Solomon Ogbeide brought on Kadiri Samad for old war horse David Tyavkase. The substitution paid off as Lobi flocked the Rivers United half searching for the lead.
Anthony Okpotu and Akleche Sunday continued to trouble the Rivers United defence before the former was replaced by Nanen Imenger in the 74th minute.
The goal finally came in the 84th minute via a header from substitute Imenger after Femi Thomas denied Akleche from heading in his initial effort.
There was time for Rivers United gaffer Stanley Eguma to hand new signing Abdoulaye Kanoute his debut as he came in for Bernard Ovoke late on.
The Malian [Kanoute] and Rivers failed to overturn the one goal deficit as Lobi Stars held on to the lead.
Written by Chinedu Okorodike

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