Silas Nwankwo’s brace could not save Nasarawa United from defeat as they lost 2-3 to their host, Lobi Stars in a North-Central NPFL matchday 34 derby clash at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi, on Wednesday afternoon.
The Solid Miners went ahead just three minutes into the game through Silas Nwankwo after dribbling past the forest of legs, including the goalkeeper, before slotting the ball into an empty net.
Shortly after, Adamu Hassan squandered a face-to-face chance, poking the ball inches wide to the frustration of the United’s bench.
Lobi Stars drew level courtesy of Matthias Samuel’s freekick in the 19th minute.
But it was United who would take the lead again after Dauda Maigishiri’s defence-splitting pass found Silas Nwankwo and the goal machine energetically ran past his marker before smashing the ball beyond the grasp of the home side goalkeeper, Nwabali Stanley in the 27th minute, his sixteenth goal of the season.
While Nasarawa United were still in their celebration mood, disaster struck. Ogunye Austin fed Matthias Samuel and the bulky player poked home the equaliser from close range in the 30th minute.
Lobi Stars won the match three minutes before half-time through a sublime finish from Ogunye Austin off Chinonso Okonkwo’s orchestrated pass.
With the game approaching regulation time, United fought back to get a leveller but Silas Nwankwo’s hat-trick mission was scuttled by the fingers of Lobi goalkeeper, Nwabali Stanley, as he parried it over the bar to the disbelief of everyone.
Despite the result, Nasarawa United return home with their heads high as they are still occupying the 2nd position on the league table with 58 points, six points behind table-topping Akwa United who won their home game against Warri Wolves in the other tie.
The Solid Miners will play Gombe United in their Aiteo Federation Cup Quarter-Finals clash in Jos, Plateau State, on Friday, 23rd July, 2021, before returning to their base in Lafia for a league game against visiting Sunshine Stars of Akure on Sunday, 25th July, 2021.