BY CHRIS OKUNNUWA
Sunshine Stars five-match unbeaten run in the Nigeria Professional Football League has been halted following a 1-0 reversal to Heartland FC at the Okigwe Township Stadium on Sunday.
Abiodun Thompson smashing efforts from close range inside the opening three minutes settled the week 18 closely fought encounter in favour of the hosts, with Sunshine Stars left to rue a late missed chance at equalizer.
Thompson’s goal appeared to have threw spanner in the visitors’ early game plan, however the Owena Whales managed to hit their stride midway through the opening half.
During their periods of dominance, the Akure landlords went close through Sadeeq Yusuf and Anthony Omaka, the later was denied astonishingly by Ikechukwu Ezenwa 10 minutes from the break.
Three minutes into the restart, Yusuf created a great scare for Ezenwa and the home crowd with a range grounder that sails just wide; the Super Eagles goalkeeper appeared beaten already on the occasion.
Ogunniyi Omo Jesu was gifted with a glorious chance to draw level late on, but the youngster’s effort off a well-timed square ball from Silas Nwakwo grazed the woodwork and dropped out agonisingly.
The final whistle was greeted by protest from Sunshine Stars; the vistors were gutted at the referee’s decision to bring the contest to a close without indication of additional time despite numerous stoppages.
Sunshine Stars’ coach, Kabiru Dogo expressed absolute confidence in his side’s ability to bounce back to winning ways at the next try in a post-match interview with ODSFA Media.
“We are not happy about the result, but still I have to congratulate Heartland for their win. It doesn’t matter how we think they get the result; victory is a victory!
“I strongly believe my team will bounce back from the next match; am satisfied with what the boys played.” Dogo posited.
With the loss, Sunshine Stars, with 27 points, dropped a place to fifth on the log.