BY CHRIS OKUNNUWA
Sunshine Stars continue to prove they are good at carting points away from home as they stunned Wikki Tourists in Bauchi on Sunday.
Goals from Anthony Omaka and Fuad Ekelojuoti secured a memorable 2-1 win for Sunshine Stars.
The second successive away victory over the Elephants moved the Coach Kabiru Dogo’s charges to sixth place on the NPFL log with 22 points following 14 rounds of matches.
The Tafawa Balewa Stadium was charged with one of the biggest crowd the league had seen in recent times. However it became obvious the hosts were up against the tough visitors on their home return as Sunshine Stars edged the early battle for territorial domination and possession.
Soon after, the Akure side raced to an early lead off the foot of Omaka who tucked home from a brilliant Timileyin Omo Jesu Ogunniyi’s pass in the 13th minute. It was the least the visitors deserved from early exchanges full of verve and gusty display.
Olorunleke Ojo who enjoyed good cover from a well organised backline was right on call to make some eye-catching saves when desperately needed.
First he denied the hosts from a well-taken free kick in the 20th minute and that was followed up by a commanding save in a one-on-one situation in the 32nd minute. Omo Jesu had an effort at goal repelled by a decisive block in between the hosts’ failed attempt at an equaliser.
Sunshine Stars had a penalty appeal turned down by the referee minutes before the break after Omaka went down under what looked a poorly-timed tackle inside the area.
Two minutes after the restart Omo Jesu almost capped a near-perfect outing with a goal at the near post, but Wikki goalkeeper, Adamu Abubakar reacted fast to deny him from a follow up on Omaka’s effort rebound.
Nonetheless it was 2-0 just after the hour mark as Ekelojuoti found time and space to power home a scorcher from the edge in the 61′.
Sunshine Stars were surprisingly penalised in the 70′ following a tango in the area. Idris Guda stepped up to convert and halve the deficit for the homers.
Adamu Mohammed was sent through fifteen minutes from time, but Ojo showed bravery to frustrate the home crowd with yet another save on the veteran attacker’s effort from point blank.
Sunshine Stars who could have extended the lead through Omaka, Sadeeq Yusuf and Jide Fatokun in additional time finished the contest stronger and in the end returned with a second win from the Northeast in three weeks.
An elated Dogo expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the game, but was quick to switch focus to his side’s next challenge at the post match interview.
“I am very happy for the win, no doubt, its a good result for us. But my mind is already focused on getting another win at home against Plateau United on Wednesday.
“We need to follow this result up with a win at home, otherwise it will be wasted and that’s why I want to call on the good people of Ondo State to come out and support us with unity of purpose on Wednesday.”