Lobi Stars of Makurdi, Benue State, yesterday, began their campaign in the money-spinning stage (Group A) of the CAF Champions League on a splendid note defeating Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1, in the encounter played at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu State.The South African side looked dangerous in the opening stages of the encounter, and was close to drawing the first blood through Brazilian import, Ricardo Nascimento.
The lanky defender connected well with Gaston Sirino’s header, but Lobi’s goalkeeper, Olufemi Kayode pulled off a great save to deny him the curtain raiser in the ninth minute.The visitors, who kept pushing for the opening goal, broke the deadlock following a quick counter-attack.Uruguayan winger, Sirino set-up Anthony Laffor, who scored with a tap in to make it 1-0 to Sundowns. It was Laffor’s second goal in as many matches.
However, the lead only lasted for seven minutes as Lobi equalised through Yaya Kone, who scored from the spot to make it 1-1.This was after Sunday Adetunji was fouled inside Sundowns’ box by Nascimento, and Egyptian referee, Ghead Grisha pointed to the spot. Lobi and Sundowns were locked at 1-1 at the interval in Enugu.
The Ortom Boys were the better side in the opening stages of the second-half and they managed to take the lead, when Samuel Mathias fired home from inside the Sundowns box to make it 2-1. This was in the 52nd minute, and after sustained pressure on the South African side’s defence.Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane then introduced speedy forward Phakamani Mahlambi as the visitors looked to level matters.However, the Ortom Boys looked solid at the back in the closing stages of the encounter with the Brazilians struggling to create clear-cut chances.Ultimately, Lobi secured a 2-1 victory over the 2016 Champions League winners Sundowns on match-day one of the group encounter.