Lobi Stars have secured a playoff ticket to participate in the Nigeria Premier Football League 2023 Super 6 slated to take place in Lagos State, despite experiencing a setback against visiting Wikki Tourists on the final day of matchday 18 of the abridged league season played at the New Jos Township Stadium, Plateau State.
Head Coach of Lobi Stars, Mohammed Baba Ganaru, rotated his squad ahead of the busy schedules he will be facing soon and presented opportunities to the other lads.
The Makurdi-based side started the encounter with the needed intent at the blast of the whistle; however, Abubakar Aliyu’s well-taken freekick with just 4 minutes of play changed the scoreline to 0-1 in favour of Wikki Tourists.
The duo of Mustapha DanAzimi and Solomon Kwambe almost restored parity for the former NPFL champions on two different occasions, but unfortunately, the visitor’s goalkeeper Yusuf Mohammed pushed their separate efforts to safety to end the first half 0-1.
Coach Baba Ganaru, on second-half resumption, replaced the trio of Felix Terver, Mustapha Dan Azimi, and Barnabas Imenger with Terdoo Shimagande, Umar Abba, and Chinonso Okonkwo to intensify the needed onslaught on the Yankari Boys in search of an equaliser as the minutes were ticking down; however, substitute Abba’s effort lacked the cutting edge to draw level.
The visitors doubled their lead once again in the 88th minute when substitute Abdulmumini Shehu scored to give the relegated side a two-goal advantage.
Efforts made by the “Shoe Get Size Boys” to equalise proved abortive upon the final whistle, as the match ended 0-2 in favour of the Bauchi-based side.
Despite the setback, Lobi Stars have qualified to play in the Super 6, kicking off on June 3, 2023, and are also the only NPFL side in the 19 northern states to secure a playoff ticket.