Lobi Stars' Okpotu (right) is challenged for ball possession during a previous game in the ongoing NPFL season.

lshaku Kigbu
Lobi Stars of Markurdi humbled visiting ElKanemi Warriors of Makurdi 3-0 in a Match Day 4 fixture decided at the Aper Aku Stadium with Anthony Okpotu promoted from the youth team last season netting a brace.

Lobi thus toppled Abia Warriors from the top of the standings with nine points from four games.
El Kanemi remains bottom of the table having lost its first three matches.

The hosts approached the game with a mission to accomplish from the blast of the whistle and their effort paid off on the 4th minute through a penalty awarded when Okpotu was brought down in the 18 yard box of the visitors by defender Lukas Yahaya. Okpotu picked himself up to convert the spot kick for their lead on the 4th minute.

No other goal was scored in that half which recorded a couple of misses. On the 9th minute Lobi’s Kingsley Eduwo connected beautifully with his head in a free kick situation but Elkanemi’s goalkeeper, George Michael was well positioned for a clean catch.

On the 25th minute, Okpotu was again left unmarked in the 18 box but wasted a begging chance from a pass from Sunny Ekleche and on the 29 minute the best chance of the game for the visitors came to Ibrahim Mustapha who wasted a penalty kick after Ohanachom Chinedu was brought down in the 18 box. The kick was saved by Okemute Odah in goal for Lobi.

There would have been another goal on the 40th minute for the hosts but a pass from Okpotu to unmarked Ayagwa Raphael at the edge of the box was wasted.

The second half was approached with the same zest by the home side and on the 55th minute the same first half culprit Lukas Yahaya fouled Nasiru Shehu and the penalty was again converted by Okpotu to make it 2-0. Then on the 60th minute Okemute Odah again saved a one-on-one move by Elkanemi’s Ohanachom Chinedu.

The third and final goal of the game came on the 69th minute through substitute Niamen Imenger who dribbled past two defenders to tuck the ball at the right hand corner of the net away from goalkeeper Michael.

Speaking to npfl.ng, Okpotu who emerged the hero and Man of the Match said they had to come out smoking because they played badly in their last game and needed to redeem their image. “I am not happy I missed other chances but I am very happy I scored those vital two goals for my team. We needed to post this kind of result because we played badly against Ikorodu United in Lagos”.
We were unhappy with the result and had to challenge ourselves to come out smoking against ElKanemi and pick the three maximum points.”

Okpotu said he is happy returning home from Libya where he went to seek greener pastures. ” I got promoted from Lobi’s feeder team and after sometime left to Libya but had to return because of the manner I was talked to come home and help the team do well this season. I am enjoying my stay in the Nigerian League and looking forward to seeing the team break new grounds this season. I have scored four goals already in four games and I hope to net more and help Lobi do very well this season”, he told npfl.ng.

MATCH DAY 4
Abia W’ 0-0 K’ Pillars
Akwa 3-1 Heartland
Giwa 2-1 Rivers Utd
Ifeanyiubah 3-1 3SC
Lobi 3-0 Elkanemi
MFM 2-1 Sunshine
Niger 2-0 Nassarawa