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Kumaga shines as Lobi Stars FC of Markurdi reclaims the 2023/2024 NPFL top spot

Posted : 26 February 2024

Lobi Stars in-form striker Suur Kumaga on Sunday tamed struggling Heartland FC of Owerri to return the Shoe Get Size Boys to the top of the league table following his second-half strike on Match Day 21, played at Lafia City Stadium, Nasarawa State. 


Coach Eugene Agagbe made only one change from the team that lost against Plateau United on Match Day 20 in Jos. The gaffer brought in Christian Madu to replace Harmony Ikande, who was on the bench for tactical reasons.


The first half got underway, and the Alia Boys attacked the visitors to break the deadlock after creating so many scoring chances; however, the visitor's goalkeeper, Darlington Ovunda, kept the scoreline 0-0 by pulling some spectacular saves to prove his worth, which is why Heartland brought him in the second stanza to mount in between the sticks from 3SC as they battle to remain in the elite league.


No goal was recorded in the first half after end-to-end attacks from both sides as both teams returned to their various dressing rooms. There was a tactical switch from Coach Agagbe as his side returned for the last stanza. The gaffer took off Christian Madu and brought on Samuel Tiza. He drafted Suur Kumaga into the middle and pushed Tiza to the left flank in search of an opener.


After many attempts, the deadlock was broken in the 68th minute when Kumaga capitalized on a rebound to score his fourth goal of the season following goalkeeper Ovunda's howler from Stanley Oganbor's strike. 


As the minutes ticked down to the end of the tie, John Lazarus's late strike almost doubled the lead for the Pride of Benue but was denied by the crossbar as the Makurdi side secured the maximum points upon full-time. The result has taken Lobi Stars back to the league summit with 39 points from 21 matches. Speaking shortly after the important victory, Head Coach Eugene Agagbe acknowledged his side for putting up a good fight, which paved the way for the victory.


"I thanked my boys for putting up a good fight. I knew the game would be a difficult one because our opponents were down, so they came to fight and fight to finish, but when a coach has a strategy, he is bound to win a game. I read the game and I discovered they were packed in the midfield and decided to play wide, and from that moment I got my goal and won my match,'' he stated.


Lobi Stars will proceed to Akure to take on Sunshine Stars of Akure in a midweek tie on Match Day 22.



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