By: Tony Ademodi
A 47th minute strike from Nonso Uzodiegwu ensured FC IfeanyiUbah took maximum 3 points against Lobi Stars on Sunday in Nnewi.
FCIU coach Uche Okagbue gave starts to his new youngsters in Abel James, Samuel Matthew and Paul Chillom, with last season campaigners Ekene Awazie and Sharp Uzoigwe also in his Starting XI.
Lobi Stars coach Kabiru Dogo started the game with Abdulkareem Mumini and Ossy Martin’s spear heading his attack, while former FC Ifeanyi Ubah player, Adeyele Olamilekan, Ebube Duru, Yisa Anifowoshe and Emeka Isaac made up the back four.
The away team started showing intent early in the 5th minute after Abdulkareem Mumimi’s pass found Victor Arikpo close to the 18 yard box, but his strike from 18 yards was saved by FCIU Goalkeeper Sharp Uzoigwe
In the 14th minute FCIU Paul Chillom made a good run into Lobi Stars box but was flagged offside by the referee.
The game went on with both sides missing scoring opportunities, especially Lobi Stars striker, Abdul Mumini in the 27th and 36th minutes as both teams went into the dugout goalless at half time.
However the deadlock was broken in the 47th minute after a good pass from Uzochukwu Ifejiofor found Nonso Udodiegwu who slotted home, beating Lobi Stars goalkeeper Mustapha Aliko.
With Lobi Stars conceding, Kabiru Dogo introduced strikers Chinonso Okonkwo and Samuel Mattias for Thomas Zeke and Tisa Samuel.
Their introduction brought immediate impact as Chinonso Okonkwo almost got an equalizer in the 70th minute after his flicked headed effort on goal was saved by the FCIU goalkeeper Sharp Uzoigwe.
FCIU coach Uche Okagbue, seeing that his team was being under pressure, introduced Lukman Aliu for Maxwell Ijomah, while John Taska was withdrawn for Eric Oguocha, to help shore up the defence.
Lobi Stars continued pressing forward for an equalizer, but the “Anambra Warriors” held on and celebrated their win.
Speaking to www.npfl.com after the game, FCIU coach, Uche Okagbue was full of praise for his players.
“I am happy that we won here against Lobi Stars. We knew it wasn’t gonna be an easy game as they are a tactical side. They played better in the first half, but were poor in front of goal so we came back in the second half and did a good job.
“My players are very young with an average age of 23, but they gave a good account of themselves today,” Okagbue said after the game.
Lobi Stars coach Kabiru Dogo blamed the loss on the playing turf.
“I think FCIU were lucky to have won the game because we played better, but we failed to convert the chances that came our way.
“Also the playing turf here contributed to my players not scoring, because the turf doesn’t allow for good movement of the ball.
“I am happy that the league is back, I believe this will help keep our players in good shape, and kudos to League Management Company (LMC) for ensuring that the league kicked off”.