Kano Pillars came out victorious over Lobi Stars in the 2017 pre-season Gold Cup tourney with a 1-0 win over the Pride of Benue boys in the final of the tourney played at the Kwara State Complex on Friday evening.
Former Nigeria youth international Rabiu Ali scored the lone goal in the first half for the Sai Masu Gida boys thrilling game.
Ali’s 33rd minute strike came off a brilliant counter-attack from Kano Pillars and the midfield maestro sent a 18-yard chip shot into the net off the cross bar.
Lobi Stars bossed possession and created more clear-cut chances in the early stage of the first half. The Benue Army always looked dangerous on the attack but lacked precision in shooting as striker Anthony Okpotu misplaced some strikes even in the box of Pillars in the first half.
Kano Pillars’ defence did a yeoman job to wade off crosses and through balls as Lobi Stars tried to race to an early lead.
The Sai Masu Gida boys, however, got their acts on and threatened Lobi on the breaks but the defending champions stood firm.
It took a moment of brilliance for midfielder Rabiu Ali to beat Lobi’s offside trap following a quick break and beat John Lawrence in goal from 18-yards out.
In the second half of the game, Lobi came out much stronger and gave Pillars’ defence some torrid time.
Lobi’s Evans Ogenyi introduced some substitutes late in the game to further mount the pressure but Pillars held unto their lead and saw off the Benue Army to claim a second Gold Cup trophy in three years.
In the Closing Ceremony of the tourney, FC Ebedei forward Batholomew Daniel received the top scorer award. Daniel netted three goals in the course of the tourney.
Rabiu Ali was named the Most Valuable Player of the tourney while Lobi’s John Lawrence received the Best Goalkeeper award.