Thousands of football fans stormed Akure Stadium to watch Wednesday’s Match Day 15 between Sunshine Stars and Akwa United. –
Nobody can say how the Glo Premier League will end this season, but there are strong indications that it will end with Sunshine Stars finishing among favourites for the title.
Riding on Kehinde Adedipe’s first half effort and two more from Dayo Ojo and Prince Aggrey in the second half, Sunshine Stars beat a hapless Akwa United side 3-1 on Match Day 15 at the capacity filled Akure Township Stadium on Sunday.
Even, the consolatory goal scored for Akwa United by substitute Nnamso Edo from a 35 metre free kick could not dim the shining stars as the home victory marked the second time within three weeks in which Sunshine Stars return to the summit of the Glo Premier League.
Beyond the home team’s victory, midfielder Paul Onobi who neither scored nor emerged as best player on the field for Sunshine throughout the encounter stood out with his sublime passes that created crucial chances against the visitors.
Onobi, who combined well with Stephen Eze, Musa Newman and Kingsley Udoh during the match, used his pace and deft touches to split open Akwa United’s defence occasionally until Sunshine came tops as winners on the day.
Sunshine’s craze for goals started as early as the 2nd minute when Dele Olorundare got away with a pass and raced to the right flank before unleashing a straight shot at Akwa’s goal area, but goalkeeper Olufemi Kayode had no problem with that as he punched the ball to safety.
Three minutes later, Kayode was forced to make another brave save when Olorundare shoot from close range. The over-worked goalie however could not stop Sunshine’s third attempt on eight minutes when Adedipe pounced on a rebound from Newman’s shot to slot in the opening goal.
The visitors did not try goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa until the 20th minute when he parried a tamely taken shot into touch. Six minutes after, Friday Ubong stylishly collected the ball from Olorundare in Akwa’s half and raced into a safe spot before finding Olewesi Johnson and then to Abdulafeez Awakan who lost possession midway into Sunshine half.
An equalizing goal could have come as a succour for Akwa United who were desperate to swim out of the relegation zone, but they failed to rise to the occasion leaving the score line 1-0 in favour of the hosts at the interval.
Barely four minutes into the restart, a perfect strike by Dayo Ojo from close range gave Sunshine their second goal and the hosts never looked back until Prince Aggrey nailed Akwa’s coffin with a beautiful volley on 57 minutes.
Sunshine’s third goal as expected, raised the tempo of the game as tempers began to rise from the hour mark. Interestingly, Newman who donned Sunshine’s jersey number 13 was booked for a foul play and it was a matter of time for Awakan of Akwa, who coincidentally put on the same jersey number 13, bagged the second yellow card of the match. Eze also received a yellow card for being too hash on the opponents.
About five minutes before the game was over, substitute Edo scored a free kick taken from 35 yards, as holidaying Sunshine goalkeeper Ezenwa was caught napping, to end the match 3-1 in favour of the Akure Gunners.
Coach Zachary Baraje of Akwa United told npfl.ng: “AKwa United’s carelessness caused this huge loss to Sunshine Stars. I’m disappointed with the performance of my boys and I have told them how bitter I feel about their poor display against the hosts. Yes, Sunshine Stars may beat my team on a day like this but it should not be more than a goal. The result is an embarrassment but we will return home to correct the mistakes our team made in Akure.”
Coach Kennedy Boboye of Sunshine Stars: “Sunshine played better and deserved to win. The team is still work in progress and we hope that this victory will encourage the team to improve on this performance in our next matches.”
Dayo Ojo, scorer Of second goal for Sunshine Stars: “We thank God for this victory and I must express my gratitude to my teammates for making my goal a reality. The victory goes to the entire team, while I dedicate the goal to my two lovely children.”
Sunshine Stars: Ezenwa Ikechukwu 22; Ozor Chinedu 8, Olulayo Seun 6, Onobi Paul 16, Udoh Kingsley 35, Eze Stephen 33, Aggrey Prince 7, Newman Musa 13, Olorundare Dele 28, Ojo Dayo 9, Adedipe Kehinde 24.
Akwa United: Kayode Olufemi 30; Ogar Sampson 2, Joseph Nicholas 19, Yusuf Adio 20, Ariwa Emmanuel 15, Harrison Ibukun 11, Friday Ubong 7, Olewesi Johnson 8, Davies Ukeme 24, Awakan Abdulafeez 13, Etim Okon 22.