Lobi Stars head coach Evans Ogenyi hailed his players for “raising the bar” in their 3-1 win over FC Ifeanyiubah on the opening day of the 2018/19 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Championship Playoffs in Lagos.
Forwards Samad Kadiri (2) and Sikiru Alimi scored the goals for the Pride of Benue and the team which were crowned nominal league champions last season sit top of the six-team playoffs after the first round of matches.
Ogenyi in a chat with www.aclsports.com after the game praised his players for not underrating their opponents.
“It was not an easy win. Any team that has qualified for this stage is not a pushover,” said Ogenyi to www.aclsports.com
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“For you to qualify for this Super Six, you should be congratulated and I told my players at half time that we needed to up our game because at the end of the competition, goals permutations can come to play.
“I saw 2-2 (between Pillars and Akwa United) and I saw 1-0 (Enyimba vs Rangers) so if you have the opportunity to win, you need to win convincingly so I give kudos to my boys for raising the bar in the second half and we scored two more goals to record the biggest win today,” the former Bayelsa United coach added.
While it was the first time Lobi Stars would be meeting Tuesday’s opponents FC Ifeanyiubah this season, Ogenyi’s men will meet a more familiar foes Rangers (who lost their opening game to Enyimba) in their second game on Thursday.
Both teams have met three times in competitive games in the last six months and Lobi are unbeaten in all the games, a run that even stretched from previous NPFL seasons. Ogenyi is aware of the familiarity between both sides but hopes to build on their opening day win.
“You must take each match as it comes, we have played ourselves before and at this stage the result could go either way but then we hope to build on what we have started on Tuesday,” said Ogenyi.
Wednesday is rest day in the Championship Playoffs with hostilities set to resume on Thursday.