Victor Mbaoma strike late to hand Akwa United a 2-1 win over Sunshine Stars in a heated Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) match day 18 tie at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo on Sunday.
After a very tight and lively opening minutes, the first chance of the game fell to Akwa United in the 9th minute but Adeshina blasted wide inside the area from a lay up.
Nevertheless the home side found a way to draw the first blood through an Ifeanyi Ifeanyi’s ingineous strike from dead ball.
Sunshine Stars committed a foul close to the edge and the midfielder delivered an inch-perfect strike into the top left corner from the resulting free kick in the 42′.
With three minutes left to play before halftime, the visitors threatened to strike back in successions; first, Sikiru Alimi drew a save from Ismaila Shagari through a half volley, before Franklin Sasere had a tamed effort from just inside the area saved by the goalkeeper.
Sasere restored parity for Sunshine Stars two minutes after the restart; the big framed striker athletically scored his second against United in as many matches after Shagari spilled a Seun Olulayo’s cross onto his part.
Despite some renewed efforts to score a second, the home side were kept at bay by good defensive organisation of Sunshine Stars and Ocheje’s brilliance until the 88′ when Mbaoma managed to find a space and forced in an efforts to secure the win for the Promise Keepers.
Despite the loss the Akure Landlords stay a place above the drop zone with 20 points from 18 matches and next face table toppers, Lobi Stars at home next Sunday.
The technical area and bench of the visitors were invaded by Akwa Ibom FA officials and other football stakeholders in the state with the Club’s camera beaten, had his phone stolen and stopped from filming the last ten minutes of the tie.
While reflecting on the game, Sunshine Stars coach, Henry Abiodun decried the assaults, which included attacks on Dayo Ojo, Alaba Adeniyi and Club’s Head of Media, but appeared not to totally hinge the loss on the incident off the field of play.
_”I will like to take the positive first; the team score virtually in every game now but again we didn’t hold on defensively till the end. Can’t blame my boys for the first goal though, it was a well taken free kick._
_”I hate to give excuse but the way we ended the last 10 minutes was shameful for our football with the assault on our officials by stakeholders of the home side. We lost concentration with all the attack on players, officials on the bench.”_
_”Against Lobi? They are the best team at the moment and they have an experienced coach (Ogbeide) who happened to be our former coach. It will be a good game, but we are going to give everything to make sure we have the maximum points.”_ Abiodun said.
*Sunshine Stars XI:* Moses Ocheje Chigozie Obasi (Anthony Omaka 57′) Seun Olulayo, Jide Fatokun, Nojeem Raji, Kehinde Adeyemi, Kehinde Adedipe, Dayo Ojo, Sikiru Alimi Franklin Sasere (Charles Okoro 70′) Abiodun Joseph (Sunday Emmanuel 46′)
*Unused Subs:* Henry Ayodele, Niyi Adekunle, Yahuza Bala, Alaba Adeniyi
*Akwa United starting XI:* Ismaila Shagari, Etim Mathew, Gabriel Wassa,
Kelly Kester, Godspower Igudia
Denis Nya, Aniekeme Asuquo, Micael Ibe, Victor Mbaoma, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi (Christopher Lolo) Adeshina Gata (Katoh Haggai 68′)
*Unused Subs:* Iwu Emmanuel, Otobong Effiong, Ariwachukwu Emmanuel, Gabriel Okechukwu, Etboy Akpan.