Ekelojuoti fires Sunshine Stars to victory over Wikki Tourists

Sunshine Stars strengthened their chances of avoiding relegation from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) with a 1-0 home win over Wikki Tourists on Wednesday.

Seven minutes into the second half, Fuad Ekelojuoti swept home a cut back by Ajani Ibrahim to hand the Owena Whales a vital win in race to beat the drop.

The game started with the visitors lurking through Mustapha Abdullahi’s delightful cross in the 5th minute but Emmanuel James was well placed to clear the danger. That proved to be the cue for Sunshine Stars to take the ascendancy as the trio of Ekelojuoti, Sadeeq Yusuf, and Ifegwu Ojukwu went close to opening the scoring for the home side.

The pressure mounted further toward the end of the first half but the hosts soaked it all up to maintain parity going into the break. However, Sunshine Stars eventually got rewarded for their effort in the 52nd minute as Ekelojuoti was found by Ibrahim and the former Heartland FC winger made no mistake in burying the chance.

Having taken the lead, the Akure-based team did not take their foot off the pedal and nearly doubled their lead in the 83rd minute when Yusuf’s audacious lob evaded both the goalkeeper and his goalpost.

Sunshine Stars head coach, Deji Ayeni, believed the result is an indication of the improvement the team is going through. “I am very happy. Like I said when I took up the job, this is a progressive issue. Every match we play, we approach it the way it comes, and you can see that the boys are improving on daily basis. If you watch the way the boys played today against the way they played in Ilorin, you can see that there is hope for this team to get out the relegation zone,” he told www.npfl.ng.

Meanwhile, Wikki Tourists head coach, Nasiru Kobi, blamed his side’s defeat on fatigue. “I believe today is not our day because this is not how my boys play. We didn’t have the transition from the midfield, but I think fatigue caused it. We have been managing the same set of players for the last seven matches,” he said.

What next?

Sunshine Stars will next visit Heartland FC, while Wikki Tourists will host Dakkada FC.

SUNSHINE STARS FC XI

21. Saliu Suleiman, 2. Emmanuel James, 4. Habib Yakub, 9. Sadeeq Yusuf, 12. Kehinde Adeyemi, 13. Bello Babatunde, 14. Ibrahim Ajani (Waheed 77′),16. Uzoechi Ejike, 25. Kehinde Adedipe (Olalusi 51′), 31. Ifegwu Ojukwu, 32. Fuad Ekelojuoti (Adejubu 77′)

SUBS

22. Henry Ayodele, 5. Wale Abisoye, 8. Kolade Adeniji, 18. Quazeem Obanigba, 17. Waheed Adebayo, 26. Edozie Ewelike, 30. Uzochukwu Ugonna, 36. Ayo Adejubu, 39. Michael Olalusi

GOAL: Fuad Ekelojuoti

YELLOW CARDS: Ajani Ibrahim 70′, Waheed Adebayo 79′, Ayo Adejubu 90+3′

RED CARDS: NIL

WIKKI TOURISTS XI

34 Alladoun Kolimba (GK), 13 Andrew Abalogun, 31 Salisu Adamu, 19. Odeh Francis Uchenna, 35. Jimmy Ambrose, 15 Mustapha Abdullahi, 10. Sale Ibrahim (Mustapha Ibrahim 54′), 23.Maiyaki Ismail, 14.Liman Baba (Nazifi 54′), 7. Idris Mohd Guda, 33.Promise Damala (Garba 73′).

SUBS

1 Ospino Egbe (GK), 32 Abdulkarim S Chindo, 9. Manu Garba, 16.Jibrin Abubakar, 20 Mustapha Ibrahim, 12.Nazifi Yahaya

GOAL: NIL

YELLOW CARDS: Salisu Adamu 9′, Odeh Francis 27′, Saleh Ibrahim 45+1′

RED CARDS: NIL