Lobi Stars 2-0 ASEC Mimosas : Sikiru Alimi scores twice as Nigerian champions exit Caf Champions League on a high note
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The Pride of Benue redeemed their battered image with a victory over the lethargic Ivorian club

Lobi Stars ended their campaign in the Caf Champions League on a winning note on Saturday as they recorded a 2-0 win over ASEC Mimosas in their final group game at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.

Two goals from Sikiru Alimi in the first half ensured that the Nigerian champions bowed out of the competition with their heads high.

The Pride of Benue were already down and out even before the kickoff against the visiting Ivorian team, but they had given their word that they would be gunning for victory regardless of their hopeless situation.

After a minute of silence was observed for victims from the Ethiopian Airline crash, Tunisian referee Haythem Guirat got the game underway and expectedly it was the home team that started like a house on fire.

However, it was ASEC's Toure Armed that had the first real chance of the game but his shot just outside the box sailed across the face of goal to the relive of goalkeeper Olufemi Kayode.

After that early scare, Lobi Stars shot into the lead as Matthias Martins with a cutback pass located an unmarked Alimi in the box and the striker poked in the ball from close range just after three minutes of action.

Alimi could have doubled the lead for Lobi minutes after getting the opening goal but the big striker could not direct his header on target despite being free from any marker.

The Ivorians who still had a fighting chance of pulling through if they win in Enugu and the result go their way in Morocco tried to mount a quick fightback but they were very poor in the final third. 

ASEC were hit with a big blow as they had to make a forced substitution with Thomas Gonazo taking the place of injured Sako Umar in the 21st minute.

The introduction of Gonazo was a blessing in disguise for ASEC as he breathed new life into the attack of the visitors; providing pin-point crosses that were unfortunately fluffed by his teammates especially Sali Bagate who had the chance to pull his side level on two different occasions inside seven minutes.

ASEC were punished for their lax defending again in the 39th-minute this time it was Dare Ojo that provided a cutback pass to Alimi and the striker in a similar fashion scored from close range to give Lobi a 2-0 lead.

Lobi continued their dominance in the second half and Alimi was keen to make it a hat-trick for himself but it was not to be as the ASEC goalkeeper stood tall not to allow for more goals from the striker.

Coach Solomon Ogebeide did throw in Micheal Stephen and Yaya Kone into the game late in the second half and the duo almost repaid the faith reposed in them by the coach.

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Stephen won a free kick for Lobi Stars at the edge of the box in the 81st minute and it almost resulted in the third goal for the Nigerians as Kone whipped the ball expertly, but it only rattled the crossbar as the game ended 2-0.

Regardless of Saturday's win, Lobi Stars still ended their campaign as the bottom team in  Group A with seven points, ASEC on their part finished third also with seven points after six games but with a better goals' difference.

 

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