Fuad Ekelojuoti scored a brace as Sunshine Stars maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-1 win over Remo Stars on Matchday 6 of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) on Sunday in Akure.
The win also takes the Akure the club to second place in Group A with eight points, one behind leaders MFM FC.
Sunshine Stars head coach Kabiru Dogo made two changes to the team that beat Wikki Tourists 1-0 last week, with Chibundu Amah and Alaba Adeniyi taking the spots of Kolade Adeniji and Seun Olulayo.
For Remo Stars, Kennedy Boboye named two debutants (Akpojuvwevwo Bright and Ishaq Rafiu) in his line-up.
As expected, Sunshine Stars came out more aggressive of the two teams and within two minutes – had the ball in Remo Stars net – when a curling free kick from Seun Sogbeso was headed home by Ekelojuoti.
It did not take long for Remo Stars to get back in the game with debutant Akpojuvwevwo nodding in Awoyemi Abiodun’s brilliant corner.
The surge displayed by both teams gave the match a very nice tempo. Chances followed, most of them for Sunshine’s Jide Fatokun and Alaba Adeniyi, while Dogo introduced Peter Ibe for the injured Franklin Sasere.
Remo’s Edoka Owoicho was also impressive in the first-half, timing his tackles well and clearing the ball of the line to deny Sunshine the lead.
While Sunshine pushed to end the half in positive fashion, Remo’s back line held firm and both sides went in level at the interval.
The second half continued in similar fashion, with Amah and Esosa Igbinoba failing to take their chances.
However, the hosts got the lead they deserved on 57 minutes. Ekelojuoti, who was having an impressive game got the last touch on the ball in a goalmouth scramble which was initially aimed on target by his teammate Adeniyi.
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Sunshine Stars Seal Slim Victory Over Kwara United In Heated Contest
Michael Egbetas 60th minute strike proved to be enough for Sunshine Stars as they sealed a narrow victory in an exciting Matchday 13 encounter against Kwara United on Sunday at the Akure Stadium.The home team had a bright start to the game with a few chances in the first 45 minutes of the match. Sunshine Stars Kehinde Adeyemi was presented with the chance to hand the Akure side the lead in the third minute, when Michael Egbetas cross found him in Uniteds penalty area, but his weak header went wide off the post.
Ten minutes later, it was Kwara Uniteds turn to create a chance as Uwana Asuquo tried to find former Sunshine Stars player Sunday Emmanuel in the box, but the home team had Olalekan Gabriels quick reaction to thank as the ball was cleared for a corner kick.
Sunshine Stars kept probing in search of an opening goal and could not convert chances that came their way. First it was Egbetas shot from a long distance in the 24th minute and then five minutes later, Olawale Oremade in goal for Kwara United denying Sunshine Stars twice in quick succession.
Five minutes before half-time, Chigozie Obasi had a long range effort pushed over by Oremade for a corner kick. The home side were all over Kwara Uniteds defence searching for a goal in a first half that ended goalless.
The second half began in an unexpected manner as both teams were reduced to 10 men just after the restart. Sunshines Ajibola Otegbeye and Uniteds Andrew Ikefe were both given matching orders for an off-the-ball incident.
Both teams reacted quickly with tactical changes. Sunshine Stars head coach Kabiru Dogo withdrew striker Fuad Ekelojuoti for Kolade Adeniji while Kwara United head coach Abubakar Bala responded by taking off Sunday Akinmoladun for Chinedu Nwanze.
Sunshine had a chance in the 55th minute of the game with substitute Adeniji cutting in from the right, but he could not find the back of the net with a shot. Five minutes later, Adeniji soon proved to be instrumental following a pass down the middle to Egbeta who shot straight into the net to break the deadlock.
The game took a different turn in the 65th minute when Sunshine Stars captain Sunday Abe was sent off for a second bookable offence, meaning the hosts had to play the last 25 minutes of the game with two men down.
Kwara United however could not make the numerical advantage count. Twelve minutes from time, Uwana Asuquo tried to get a shot in from a distance, but he could only shoot straight into Ayo Ojos hands.
As the game wore on, Sunshine Stars were more content with knocking the ball around, as they protected their 1-0 lead till full-time.
Sunshine Stars and Kwara United now have 16 and 15 points respectively from 12 games played.
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