Jigawa Golden Stars returned to winning ways with 1-0 victory over league leaders Lobi Stars in a Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Matchday 18 game decided at the Sani Abacha Stadium on Saturday.
Yusuf Suleiman netted the decisive goal two minutes to regulation time after his low strike rolled past goalkeeper Faith in goal for Lobi.
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Munkaila Musa had launched a through pass, which Suleiman controlled swiftly before blasting home for the host team.
The game was evenly balanced in the first stanza with both teams showing seeking to dominate with accurate passes and series of attacks.
Kingsley Innocent of Jigawa initiated the first attack on goal for the host six minutes from start, when he dribbled past his marker but saw his shot punched away by goalkeeper Faith.
Moments later, Obasi Chigozie responded for Lobi Stars with a wide shot from Abdulmumuni Abdulkareem’s corner.
Abdulmumuni made another frantic effort at goal, having combined well with Nzube Anaezemba, his close-range shot was timely saved by Dami Paul.
Skipper Yusuf Muhammad for Jigawa eventually stole the show at the middle and reeled out accurate passes. But the trio of Kingsley Innocent, Samuel Stone, Dogara Peter were wasteful in several attacks.
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At the other end, Sunday Adetunji was no doubt a torn in Jigawa defence line, his two glaring efforts was denied by Dami Paul, leaving the first period on a barren note.
The host team came out stronger after resumption. Dogara Peter sent on a long ball in a crowded Lobi defence, but it was goalkeeper Faith who lifted highest to parry out of danger.
Samuel Stone would also blame himself for heading wide in a similar fashion a well-taken delivery on two occasions by Skipper Yusuf.
Lobi’s attack was however strengthened a bit when Samad Kadiri came on for Chukwudi Nwaodu while Joseph Osadiaye took the place of Abduulmumuni Abdulkareem. But their host seeking their first victory after many games pegged them back.
Jigawa continued to mount pressure until Yusuf Sulieman’s strike separated both teams, handing the host a much-needed maximum points.
The win is a sigh of relief for the Golden Stars who leapt out of the relegation zone with 17 points from 17 matches, pending other results on Sunday. Jigawa are currently 16th on the league table.
Man Of The Match: Yusuf Muhammad.
Jigawa GS Team List
Danjuma Dami Paul 40, Bilal Yakubu 14, Ali M. Kalla 24, Kingsley Innocent 36, Munkaila Musa 2, Yusuf Muhammad 17, Richard Christopher 8, Stone Samuel 19, Dogara Peter 22, Olarewaju Rahman 5, Nura Muhammad 3.
Kenneth Christopher 1, Danburan Abdulkadir 4, Allahnana Peter 28, Ibrahim Umar 15, Yusuf Suleiman 24, Moshood Kazali 33, Austin Godwin 21.
Lobi Stars Team List
James Faith 31, Obasi Chigozie 18, Anumudu Uchekwe 35, Ichull Lordson 22, Desmond Agbe 23, Governor Errnest 15, Nzube Anaezemba 26, Abdulmumuni Abdulkareem 8, Sunday Adetunji 27, Mathias Samuel 13, Chukwudi Nwaodu 33.
Alaska Daniel 1, Nnaemeka Anyanwu 32, Omotayo Adegun 34, John Lazarus 2, Osadiaye Joseph 11, Samad Kadiri 14, Etibe Archibong 9.
Venue: Sani Abacha Stadium.