Sunshine Stars continue survival run, beat Nasarawa United 2-0
By Idowu Bakare
Jide Fatogun’s beautiful flick and Sikiru Alimi’s late goal helped Sunshine Stars secure a 2-0 win over Nasarawa United in quite an interesting Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Matchday 23 at the Akure Stadium on Sunday.
Sunshine Stars were the better team in the game, scoring in both halves to secure their 8th win of the season.
The visitors, who have won two of their last three away matches against Sunshine Stars looked comfortable in defence and also created few opportunities early in the game. Thomas Zenke was behind everything good in attack for Nasarawa United but barely tested goalkeeper Moses Ocheje.
Sunshine did improve after Nasarawa United’s early dominance, with Dayo Ojo injecting much-needed pace and drive around Nasarawa’s box.
The pressure from the Owena Waves eventually paid off in the 28th minute when Jide Fatogun flicked in Seun Olulayo’s freekick.
Sunshine almost doubled their lead in the 42nd minute, as a well-taken freekick by Olulayo caused chaos in the opponents’ backline but Nasarawa managed to clear their lines as the first half ended 1-0.
Sunshine started the second-half sharper, looking to press the Nasarawa defence high up the pitch.
Substitute Michael Egbeta made an immediate impact after replacing Franklin Sasere at half-time, while Sunshine’s penalty appeal was turned down after Ajibola Otegbeye went down in the box.
The danger remained that Nasarawa United may find an equaliser from somewhere, but Sunshine continued to create and dominate.
The insurance goal finally came in the 89th minute as substitute Omodu West squared for Sikiru Alimi to slot home.
The result kept alive Sunshine’s hopes of escaping relegation. Henry Abiodun’s team now have 28 points from 24 games.
Sunshine’s next game is at home against Abia Warriors, while Nasarawa United are away to Enugu Rangers after the World Cup break.
Sunshine Stars: Moses Ocheje; Kehinde Adeyemi, Kunle Odunlami, Nojeem Raji, Seun Olulayo, Jide Fatokun, Anthony Omaka, Dayo Ojo, Ajibola Otegbeye (West Omodu 76′), Sasere Franklin (Michael Egbeta 46′), Sikiru Alimi
Unused subs: David Ariyo; Ezekiel Boboye, Kehinde Adedipe, Gabriel Sola Dada, Abiodun Joseph
Goals: Jide Fatokun 28’, Sikiru Alimi 89’
Booking: Kehinde Adeyemi
Nasarawa United: Suraj Aiyeleso; Abubakar Abdulahi, Emmanuel Makami, Issa Ndala, Abdulbasit Shittu, Jide Williams, Kabir Balogun (Babangida Hassan 79′), Michael Okoyoh (Idris Mayaki 55′), Zinte Udeh, Akin Douglas, Zenke Thomas (Ikechukwu Nwani 48′)
Unused subs: Danlami Umar; Manga Mohammed, Abubakar Ahmed, Victor Okoro
Booking: Michael Okoyoh