Sikiru Alimi was the hero in one of Saturday’s CAF Champions League matches as he scored twice to help Lobi Stars defeat Kenyan outfit Gor Mahia 2-0 from Africa’s premier club competition.
The striker netted two late goals in the final 11 minutes of the match at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu as Lobi progressed on away goals at the expense og Gor Mahia despite a 3-3 aggregate tie.
Alimi missed the first meeting in Kasarani, Nairobi where the Kenyan club emerged 3-1 winners and that set a battle of slanging match on social media between fans of both clubs.
Gor after taking the bragging rights from the first leg were hoping to become the first Kenyan club to feature in the Champions League group stage.
Lobi head coach Solomon Ogbeide brought in experienced goalkeeper John Lawrence and also restored Alimi to the matchday squad from the off and his changes paid off though not instantly as Gor held on to their two-goal lead until the 79th minute.
It was not a one-sided match as Gor had chances to score but Lobi goalkeeper Lawrence like Alimi justified his inclusion in the XI by pulling off two important saves and there was the occasional long throws of Chile Azu which unsettled the defence of the Kenyan side at times.
However Kenya international goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch could not deny Alimi his moment of glory as the Lobi striker put away the first of his two goals on 79 minutes.
Gor’s best attempt to defend their lead which had been trimmed to one by Alimi suffered a setback on 88 minutes as the power-playing forward added a second to help Lobi reach the group stage of the Champions League for the first time since 2000.
Lobi Stars have now joined TP Mazembe, Wydad Casablanca, Esperance de Tunis, Mamelodi Sundown, Orlando Pirates, CS Constantine, Ismaily and Zimbabwe’s FC Platinum as clubs that have qualified for the group stage of the competition.
The draw for the CAF Champions League group stage will hold on December 28.
© The Predictor NG