NPFL: Hard-fighting Sunshine Stars Pick vital Point In Lafia
February, 13 2022.
Sunshine Stars were made to work hard before picking a valuable point against Nasarawa United in an NPFL Matchday 12 game decided at the Lafia City Stadium in Lafia
Both sides had a contrasting result from their Match Day 11 Fixture as Nasarawa United picked a point at Abia Warriors while Sunshine Stars lost narrowly at home to Enyimba.
Sunshine Stars began the Matchday 12 fixture on fire as former Nasarawa United striker Leonard Ugochukwu was the fastest to react to Kamaru Adebari's cross to score the opener in the 3rd minutes of play.
The goal however spurred the home side as they surged into attack with Ikenna Offor and Michael Tochukwu combined to set up Shehu Lawal who had only Opubo in goal for Sunshine at his mercy but his final touch could not beat the former Warri Wolves.
The Solid Miners kept asking all the questions and it was the turn of Charles Eguaveon as his low shot from a tight angle was unable to beat the impressive Japhet Opubo in the 21st minutes.
A minute later, Abdullahi Abubakar's header was unable to beat Opubo who was having a good time in between the sticks for the visitors.
On the 27th minutes, Nasarawa United broke on the counter as former Ottasolo FC defender, Bolu Sholumade was forced to foul Shehu Lawal who was cleared on goal, leaving the referee with no choice than to hand the defender the first booking of the game.
A game that was visibly dominated by the home team saw Micheal Tochukwu on the 31st minutes tried his luck from yards out but Opubo stretched again to parry the ball for a corner which was quickly taken by the home team with no end product.
It was the turn of Manga Mohammed to go into the book for a cynical foul on Leonard Ugochukwu in the 32nd minute.
As the game approach halftime stoppages, the home team pressure paid off when Shehu Lawal strike found the back of the net after Michael Tochukwu's initial effort skied off the goal post with Opubo well beaten.
Sunshine Stars came all out with Leonard finding space in between Ini Edem and Chidera Nduka before curling an inswinger which left Kamaru Adebari with the simplest of task to tap home but his effort went wide with the referee putting an end to the first half.
On resumption of the second half, Charles Eguaveon broke free on the left before putting a clever pass to Tolulope Oluwole who needed to beat Bolu Sholumade to be free on goal but the Sunshine Stars defender's last ditched effort expertedly stopped the promising move to the disappointment of the home fans on the 48th minutes.
Three minutes later Opubo was on hand to deny Tolulope Oluwole with what many tagged as the safe of the game but the much talking point of the game was the goal denied in the 54th minutes.
Kamaru Adebari raced cleared the Nasarawa United defense to connect to Japhet Opubo's long pass before chipping the ball over the on-rushing Danlami Umar in goal for Nasarawa United but the referee signaled for an offside as the away side were jubilating.
On the 66th minutes, the referee had to make a big call as he waved for a play on in what Nasarawa United perceived to be a legitimate penalty call which was denied after Charles Eguavoen went down under Dauda Mutiu's challenge.
Nasarawa United made three substitution as the trio of Tolulope Oluwole, Michael Tochukwu and Ikenna Offor made way for the Mohammed Shammasu, Dauda Maigishiri and Usman Bashir respectively in the 70th minutes.
Nasarawa United threw more men forward in search of the winner, while Sunshine Stars maintained a disciplined side as they played all men behind the ball till the dying moments of the game.
At the stroke of full time Abdullahi Abubakar thought he had stole the full points for the home team but his effort rattled against the cross bar as the center referee signaled for the full time.
While reacting after the game, Coach Deji Ayeni of Sunshine Stars disclosed "Our tactics really worked for us, the goal scored by Kamaru Adebari should have stood but save for the human error from the middle man, we would have taken the full points from this game.
Nasarawa United will travel to Owerri to keep a date with Enugu Rangers in their next game, while Sunshine Stars will be guests to Niger Torndoes.
Japhet Opubo was voted as the king of the match for his sterling performance.