It was a huge defeat for Kwara United as they lost 2-0 to Lobi Stars in the 2023–2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) new year opener at Kwara State Stadium, Ilorin, on Sunday. The Harmony boys are coming off an away defeat to the Kano Pillars on Match Day 16 of the Apex League. The encounter on Sunday started with a high tempo from both sides as they fought their mettle on the field. The game against Makurdi side was the last match of the three matches ultimatum’ given to Kabiru Dogo and his coaching crew. Kwara United started with a promising style, throwing everything into the game in the early minutes.
But it was the Eugene Agabe-led side who came with confidence, composure, intensity, and energy, and with their free-flowing football, that took the lead via an own goal from Goodwin Osagbemi in the 21st minute of the game, making six matches the home side has conceded first at home in this campaign. Kwara United rose to search for an equaliser with begging chances, but they were not close to scoring as they misplaced some passes.
Stanley Oganbor took advantage of an error from Isaiah Ejeh, who failed to clear the ball away for being the last man, as the number 7 jersey, who was tormenting the defence line, dribbled past on rushing Dele Aiyenugba to tap the ball into an empty net to extend their lead and silence the home fans. After the restart of the second half and close to the half-hour mark, Kwara United failed to reduce the deficit as Emmanuel Ogbole was brought down in the box as the centre referee blew for a penalty.
Paul Samson stepped up and missed the penalty as Lobi Stars goalkeeper Lucky Abdullahi guessed right to save the spot kick. The home side was pressing and pressing to restore the faith of disappointing home fans as Dogo made several changes, but the Lobi Stars defence remained resolute at the back, defending with their hearts and souls.
Even the away side came close to scoring the third in the closing stage of the match as they wined down the clock, knocking the ball around, inflicting the first home loss to Kwara United and the second away victory of the campaign. Lobi Stars Coach Eugene Agabe thanked his players for their hard work in the resounding victory over Harmony Boys, saying they were a more organised and better team than Kwara United.
”I thank the players for their hard work. However, they will need to work harder because our aim was to be among the first three at the end of the season; to win a continental is our target, and coming to Ilorin was to beat Kwara United”.
”I have a better team by the statistics, even before the game today. "We are more organised with the right technical and tactical discipline."”I have a better team by the statistics, even before the game today. "We are more organised with the right technical and tactical discipline."
Kabiru Dogo congratulated Lobi Stars for the win, saying Kwara United will bounce back from the poor results.
“Congratulations to Lobi Stars for the win; Kwara United will bounce back from the poor results.” “I don’t want to comment on Kwara United's predicaments; with time, Kwarans will know where the problems are."
Kwara United is currently sitting in 14th position on the log with 19 points, two adrift of relegation. Their next game is away in Imo State against Heartland FC on Sunday, December 14, 2024.