Joseph Atule finally came good with a brace for Lobi Stars in the Naija Super 8 to defeat Fatai Osho’s Akwa United.
Atule banished memories of woeful misses in the last game to hand Coach Osho his first loss as Akwa United’s coach.
A see-saw battle ensued for the first 13 minutes despite both teams having already qualified for the semifinals, though there was still the small matter of qualifying in the top spot.
There were a few chances, but they were few and far between. Akwa United had a shout for a penalty when Wisdom Fernando appeared to have been fouled after making a dazzling run into the box in the 13th minute.
The Joseph Atule Show
Two minutes later, the Joseph Atule show was in full flow as he got the needed connection on a delightful cross from Waheed Adebayo to put Lobi Stars ahead.
Atule is one of the most in-demand forwards on the local scene, and he was determined to give spectators and critics alike a reminder of why he is in such high demand.
Eight minutes after his opener, he bagged his brace after capitalising on a mix-up in the Akwa United back line.
The goal came just minutes after an early substitution saw Sadeeq Yusuf replace his namesake Sadeeq Rilwan for Akwa United.
The youngster who lost his father during the NPFL Super Six almost scored with his attempt in the 32nd minute. Atule’s brace was the difference between both sides as Lobi Stars took a comfortable two-goal lead into the break.
Osho rang the changes for the second half
The second half started with three changes from Coach Osho. He sent on Osoba Kabir, Duke Osimaga, and Chukwuebuka Anthony to replace Uche Collins, Yusuf Sadeeq, and Etim Mathew.
The substitutions had little to no effect, as Coach Bala Abubakar made a change for his side eight minutes later, bringing on Christian Madu for Ahmadu Liman.
There were some goal-scoring chances for the Promise Keepers to return to the game. Cyril Olisema was particularly impressive, though he missed several opportunities and had a goal ruled out.
The loss against Lobi Stars is Coach Osho’s first loss as Akwa United gaffer, and Atule’s first-half brace sent him to the top of the Naija Super 8 scorers chat. The win also meant Lobi Stars finished top of Group B with seven points, while Akwa United finished in the runners-up spot with six points.
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