Eguma’s charges fight back to deny Sunshine Stars
Wasiu Jimoh’s excellently-taken half-volley earned Rivers United a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Sunshine Stars in Akure as the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) entered match day four on Wednesday.
Sunshine Stars had taken the lead early in the second half through Fuad Ekelojuoti who scrambled home a header from three yards in a crowded Rivers United penalty area but the visitors responded gamely to claim a share of the spoils.
The Rivers United technical manager, Stanley Eguma made two changes gto the side that drew 1-1 with Nigeria Tornadoes in Minna in their last game.
Kehinde Adedipe and Kingsley Patrick were preferred to Weli Christian and Chigozie Ihunda and the altearations proved to be inspired.
A first half which failed to hit expected heights was marginally sahved by the hosts who dominated territorially but lacked imagination in the final third.
Ekelejuoti’s brilliant cross on 22 minutes almost caused damage but the Rivers United goalkeeper, Drissa Bamba saved well from Seun Olunlayo’s header from point blank range off the precise delivery.
Bamba was again called into action just before the interval and this time, he saved far less spectacularly from Tope Akande’s header as the hosts poured forward in numbers in an attempt to go into the interval in front.
Eight minutes into the second half, the hosts took the lead in fortuitous fashion as Ekelejuoti prodded home the scrappiest of goals from three yards out as the visitors failed to clear their lines.
The ‘Pride of Rivers’ then stepped on the accelerator and were back on level terms just before the hour.
Cletus Emotan delivered a corner kick in exquisite fashion and Jimoh, in acres of space, reacted quicked to fire home unerrinbgly from inside the box.
The two sides traded chances but there was to be no more scoring with a draw being just about the right result.
Head coach of Sunshine Stars, Kabiru Dogo and hos counterpart from United, Eguma spoke exclusively to the official Rivers United website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ng after the pulsating encounter (audio files have been attached).
Sunshine Stars FC: David Ariyo; Sunday Abe, Olulayo, Adeyemi, Tope Akande; Anthony Omaka, Jide Fatokun, Ekundayo Ojo(76′ I’mIsrael Abia); Fuad Ekelojuoti, Sasere Franklin, Chibundu Amah (52′ Daniel Barnabas)
Substitutes not used: Ayo Ojo; Chigozie Obasi, Seun Sogbesan, Kolade Adeniji, Esosa Igbinoba,
Rivers United FC: Bamba Drissa, Kingsley Patrick( 63’Gbedebo Sampson), Kehinde Adedipe( 86′ Obomate Fredrick ), Konan Ruffin, Peter Ubakanma, Kunle Odunlami, Temple Emekayi, Wasiu Jimoh, Ossy Martins, Ogar David, Cletus Emotan( 76′ Waheed Adebayo)
Substitutes not used: Akande Abiodun, Doumbia Zoumana, Chizi Kaka Chinda, Obomate Fredrick, Ugochukwu Leonard
Sunshine Stars: 56′ Sunday Abe
Rivers United : 17′ Peter Ubakanma, 33′ Kunle Odunlami, 71′ Drissa Bamba
Red Cards: Nil
Goals: 53′ Fuad Ekelojuoti : 59′ Wasiu Jimoh