Lobi Stars and Remo Stars are the first two teams to confirm their places in the off-season football tournament, Naija Super 8, following victories in their respective zonal elimination playoffs at the Eket Township Stadium in Akwa Ibom State on Friday.

Remo recorded the biggest victory of the eliminations so far thanks to a 3-0 thrashing of 3SC while Lobi Stars edged Nigeria National League side City FC 4-3 on penalties after a thrilling regulation time ended 2-2.

Despite going down by a goal at halftime, no thanks to an unfortunate own goal by their captain, City FC, fought hard against the NPFL side and came from behind to lead 2-1 in the second half. Jospeh Atule however saved the blushes of the Makurdi side with a late equaliser to send the game into penalty shootout.

While Atule missed the fourth spot kick for Lobi during the shootout, goalkeeper Mustapha Aliko came to the rescue of the team by saving two penalties and won the shootout 4-3 for Lobi.

City FC coach, Ibe Johnson was full of praise for his players after their spirited performance.

“It’s a big tournament and we are glad to be here. We had a good game against an experienced side and this exposure will push us as we try to get the team to the top-flight. I commend the players for a good fight,” Johnson said after the game.

Lobi Stars handler, Tar Akombo, also expressed satisfaction with his side’s performance despite the scare they faced against the NNL side.

“It wasn’t easy because the league they play is just a name and they have equally good players. I told my players to fight too because we cannot afford to go out of this competition just like that. So, I feel fulfilled that we qualified for the main competition.”

In the southwest playoffs between Remo Stars and 3SC, Andy Okpe, Boniface Nwaeze and Samuel Anaekwe were the goal scorers as Daniel Ogunmodede’s side inflicted a 3-0 defeat on their rivals from Ibadan.

The Sky Blue Stars coasted to a 2-0 lead inside 11 minutes courtesy of Okpe and Nwaeze before Anaekwe added the third later in the second half.

Remo Stars and Lobi Stars will now await other contenders for the main competition which will be held in Lagos between July 7-16 at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos.

The zonal eliminations continue in Eket today as Yobe Desert Stars will take on Gombe United in a northeast affair, before Enyimba and Heartland will face off in the southeast clash.

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