Sunshine Stars Twinkle At Home Over Nasarawa United

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Nasarawa United’s unimpressive run away from home continued as they lost 2-1 in a Nigeria Professional Football League matchday 32 tie against Sunshine Stars at the Ondo State Sports Complex, Akure, on Sunday.

The Solid Miners are now winless in sixteen games on the road this season – their worst run in the last three seasons – a defensive blunder gifted all three points to their hosts, the Owena Whales.

Chilekwu Chigozie struck an opener inside three minutes of the first-half to put the home side on the driver’s seat.

While United were trying to weather the storm, Sunshine Stars doubled their lead eleven minutes after the visiting team’s defence failed to clear a low ball launched into the box by Nwogbaga Ebonam as Ugochukwu Leonard charged down before evading Manga Mohammed’s despairing challenge to tap into the net.

Abubakar Abdullahi set in motion a move that saw Chinedu Ohanachom failing to score from an acute angle before Sunday Okereke had his one-on-one chance halted by the goalkeeper.

Chinedu Ohanachom again almost reduced the deficit but saw his left footed effort tamed by the hosts’ goalkeeper.

Victor Collins swiveled a teasing ball into the path of Aliyu Abdullahi but the winger got his strike saved by the goalkeeper before a rebound attempt from Ohanachom eventually got dealt with to end the first-half 2-0 in favour of home team.

Joshua Ogbole scuffed wide from a promising position as United again piled on the pressure upon the restart, though Chilekwu Chigozie passed up a chance to increase the margin of victory from a set-piece, but Ameh Godwin had to be at his outstretched best.

With coach Bala Nikyu enforcing some changes, United still required a slice of fortune to respond as Sunday Okereke’s effort got parried out for a corner kick courtesy of a clever ball from Ohanachom,while Abubakar Abdullahi was unlucky as an inch-perfect freekick from King Osanga saw him almost scoring with only a fraction of the ball left to cross the goalline before the goalkeeper sensationally clawed it to safety.

Substitute, King Osanga also had his attempt ricocheted from the intended destination.

However, the Solid Miners’ spirited fight finally paid off as they undid the defence of the hosts with Aliyu Abdullahi unselfishly connecting fantastically with Ohanachom who poked the ball home from a close distance to reduce the deficit, his second goal this season. Sunshine Stars would hold on to the scoreline till the final whistle.

The result, nonetheless, doesn’t have any impact on the Solid Miners as they are still occupying 11th position with 41 points while Sunshine Stars are up to 7th position with 45 points.

This has been a testing year for Nasarawa United, but It’s still assumed they would escape the mid-table muddle and return to a tussle among the top ten eventually. However, while they still await their first away win of the season, taking advantage of their remaining home games isn’t out of the menu.

The team must do everything within their capability to fend off visiting Rangers International FC of Enugu when the sides meet during the weekend in Jos, Plateau State.

POST-MATCH REACTIONS

Coach Bala Nikyu(NAS): “It was a good game just that we were unable to get the first-half right.

“We complained because we felt certain things didn’t pan out well in the game, but that’s that.

“We will work towards our next game at home and we hope to get things right.”

Coach Emmanuel Deutsch(SUN): “Congratulations to us, even though I can’t be totally happy as the league has not ended.

“We won the battle but not the final – Our position on the final day of the league is what counts most.

“The boys showed great character in the first-half which was why we got the goals coming. But they relaxed a bit in the second-half which led to us conceding a goal, but we are glad we won at the end.

“Nasarawa United are a very tough opposition and made the game difficult for us, especially in the second half.

“They are a very physical and experienced side.”