Lobi Stars Football Club of Makurdi on Tuesday defeated Rangers International FC 1-0 at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba to win the 2018 Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Super Cup.
The match, which started after 7.30 p.m., was watched by a handful of football fans, as many fans left the stadium after the Nigeria/Uganda friendly played earlier at the same venue.
The first half saw the Enugu-based Rangers dominating play, with coordinated wing play and blistering passes, many of which caught the Lobi Stars’ defence napping.
However, it was Lobi Stars who took the lead when Samad Kdiri rode the challenge from two defenders to shoot past goalkeeper Nana Bonsu to score.
The remaining part of the first half saw a lot of wasted goal opportunities by both sides.
In the 60th minute, Rangers were reduced to 10 men, after Solomon Okpaku was sent off after receiving two yellow cards from referee Bashiru Salisu.
Rangers’ coach Gbenga Ogunbote made two quick substitutions, bringing in attacking midfielder Kelvin Itoya in the 67th minute as a replacement for Ifeanyi George.
The two side had opportunities to score, but wasted their chances, with Itoya being the worst culprit after squandering a golden opportunity to level scores for his team.
In an interview, Lobi Stars’ coach Solomon Ogbeide praised his team for the victory, saying they deserved to win the game.
“I want to congratulate my players for this victory. Although we played our best today, there were some mistakes, which we will work on before our continental engagements.
“However, let Nigerians feel free to criticise the team, because we are not yet at our best. We are still working on our lapses. We have areas to make amends. So, we are not celebrating yet.
“Rangers are a good team. So, the game wasn’t an easy one for both teams, but thank God we won. This victory will help us in our preparations for our continental games,” Ogbeide said.
Lobi Stars’ team captain Anthony Agbaje also told NAN in an interview that winning the Super Cup will help his team in their preparations for upcoming continental engagements.
“This victory tonight is a welcome development, most especially as we get set to compete in next year’s CAF Champions League.
“Rangers are a very good team. So, tonight’s game was a very difficult one. The two sides gave their best, but I must say I am glad that we won,” Agbaje said.