10 January 2013

Nigeria: Lobi, Heartland Win Super 4 Opening Matches

Lobi Stars of Makurdi and Heartland FC of Owerri yesterday began the ongoing Super 4 on winning notes as they recorded victories over Rangers International of Enugu and Kano Pillars respectively.

In the opening match of the afternoon at the Sani Abacha stadium, Confederation Cup representatives, Lobi Stars defeated CAF Champions League campaigners, Rangers by 1-0 after Okorie Daniel scored for his side in the 25th minute of the keenly contested match.

The victory for Lobi Stars did not come on a platter of gold as they had to endure constant incursions from Rangers strikers who hit their opponents' cross bar twice in the explosive encounter.

Lobi certainly owed their win to the superlative performance of goalkeeper John Lawrence who pulled off two spectacular saves, one in the first and the other in the second half of the match.

In the other match, Heartland FC confirmed their supremacy over host club, Kano Pillars with a 1-0 victory.

The Naze millionaires broke the deadlock in the second minute of added time after neither side could score within the regulation time.

Speaking to Trustsports on his team's victory, former international and coach of Lobi Stars, John Zaki said although Rangers proved to be tricky customers, his boys rose to the occasion and deserved the victory.

He said the win would spur Lobi to go on and win the remaining matches in the competition which ends on Sunday.

Zaki maintained that Lobi will not rest on their oars as he said they still have Kano Pillars and Heartland to beat.

"I want to thank God for our victory over Rangers. It is always good to start a championship of this nature on a winning note. It will give us the necessary confidence to confront our other opponents.

"It was not an easy game but my players rose to the challenge and that was why they could subdue Rangers. It is not yet uhuru as we still have other contenders to face. Our target is to lift the trophy and we are not going to settle for other less than that", he assured.

On his part, the Media Officer of Kano Pillars, Malam Idris Malikawa blamed his side's defeat on what he described as momentary loss of concentration.

He said the host team accepted defeat in good faith because in sports, its either you win, draw or lose.

"We lost in the added time of the match. Our opponents got the chance and took it. Although we wanted to win, victory did not come our way but we have more matches to play so we are looking forward to the games against Rangers and Lobi Stars.

"It is not yet over for us as victory in the remaining matches can still give us the trophy at stake. We are going to concentrate more in the remaining matches".

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