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CAF Champions League

Wydad 0-0 Lobi Stars: Nigerian champions get a lifeline

02:19 EAT 13/02/2019
Lobi Stars, Samuel Mathias
The Pride of Benue offered themselves another lifeline in Africa’s lucrative club competition after a goalless draw against the Moroccans

Lobi Stars have resurrected their faint hope of a place in the quarter-final stage of the Caf Champions League after they held Wydad Casablanca to a goalless on Tuesday night at the Complexe Sportif Prince Moulay – Abdellah in Rabat.

The Pride of Benue had only garnered three points from possible nine before that encounter and they knew that anything other than a positive result in Rabat could mark their exit in the lucrative club competition with two games to spare and they played an ultra defence strategy which prevented their foes from having just a few decent goal scoring opportunities.

Solomon Ogbeide opted for Olufemi Kayode in goal while Solomon Kwambe, John Lazarus, Ebube Duru and Bashiru Monsuru served as a shield to the goalkeeper with Duru who just returned from a hamstring complaint the only introduction to the defenders that faced Wydad Casablanca in Enugu less than two weeks ago. He replaced Mama Bahyere who committed the infringement that led to the Tunisians’ goal in the first leg.

Kelly Kester and Dare Ojo who played in the same competition in 2016 with Enyimba were pivotal in the midfield and they were assisted by Alex Aghahowa and Yaya Kone with Samad Kadiri and Sikiru Alimi shouldered with the responsibilities of scoring goals.

Nigerian league champions gave a good account of themselves and they cut football supply to Wydad strikers and on a few chances that they made their way into the visitors’ 18-yard box; Lobi Stars alert defenders were on hand to clear the ball into safety.

Lobi Stars didn’t attack much because of fear of being caught in possession while the Moroccans were frustrated with their inability to get the match-winner and thus boost their chances of qualifying for the quarter-final of the competition with two games at hand.

The Pride of Benue goalkeeper was very solid throughout the 90 minutes making series of saves to deny Wydad and the visitors were delighted to celebrate the solitary point that improved their points haul to four from four games.

Lobi Stars have two more games to salvage their place in the next round of the competition as they are currently third with four points behind Wydad and Mamelodi Sundowns who are on seven points each.

The twice Nigerian league champions will travel to Pretoria to face Mamelodi Sundowns on March 9 in another match they must avoid defeat if they want to extend their stay in the competition at least until the final group stage game on March 16 against ASEC Mimosas.