Chibundu Amah pounces home off a penalty kick rebound to hand Sunshine Stars a 1-0 win over Wikki Tourists in a pulsating league contest at the Pantami Stadium, Gombe on Sunday.
David Ariyo produced a string of superb saves as the Owena Whales held on to secure their first win of the abridged 2018/19 Nigeria Professional Football League season.
Kabiru Dogo charges head into the match day 5 tie seeking reaction to the dissapointing home draw with Rivers United, and after containing an early pressure from the hosts, bullish striker, Franklin Sasere found a space in the area to unleash, but his effort ricochet off a body inside the the first six minutes.
Midway through the opening half, the Elephants of Bauchi dominated possession and made series of attacking foray into Sunshine Stars area, however they were repeatedly frustrated by Ariyo saves before the break.
Ariyo picked it up from where he left it upon the restart and pulled a great goal line save to deny the hosts a certain goal, two minutes before Fuad Ekelojuoti was set through by debutant, Peter Ibe’s long pass, but the keeper rush off his line to thwart the petit winger’s goal bound lob.
Sunshine Stars found the breakthrough in the 78′ when Amah, released by another Ibe’s through pass was hacked down in the area, prompting the referee to point to the spot.
Sunday Abe had his effort from the spot stopped by the goalkeeper, but new striker, Amah reacted fastest to bundle home the rebound for his first Sunshine Stars’ goal nine minutes from time.
The Akure Landlords closed out the win after surviving a late Wikki’s siege with succession of late saves from Ariyo and collective defensive masterclass marhsalled by birthday boy, Kehinde Adeyemi.
Coach Kayode Julius was delegated to face the media by Dogo after the game, and the former junior international expressed the visible joy of the traveling party, while lauding the quality of the officiating at the Pantami in a post match interview.
_”The officiating is superb, you can see from the penalty awarded to us the away side. We are happy with the win. Right from the Gold Cup, Wike Cup we have not lost any game because the TA (Kabiru Dogo) leave nothing out in our preparations for matches._
_”Our next game is against Remo Stars and we will be going out for another good result. With our new TA there is a continental mandate for us, and thanks to our management, the governor and the people of Ondo State for their contributions towards a successful season.”_ Coach Kayode Julius noted.
Sunshine Stars’ captain, Sunday Abe disclosed the reason behind the keeper making an initial save on his spot kick.
_”Some one who has played with me before revealed the secret of penalty kicks to the keeper. But am very happy a teammate (Amah) finished it off while the ball was still trying to roll in across the line._
“We are ready for the marches as they come.”
The win moved Sunshine Stars into the top four of the Group A of 2018/19 NPFL abridged season with 5 points.