NEWLY appointed coach of Sunshine Stars, Austin Eguaveon, debuted with a comfortable win over reigning champions, Enugu Rangers, in a rescheduled Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL).
The match was the most anticipated for the weekend as these two teams were upbeat to garnish the three points at the end of the day but the ‘Owena Waves’ compounded the misery of the ‘Flying Antelopes’ with goals from the penalty spot by Ajibola Otegbeye in the 58th minute and Alaba Adeniyi in the 77th minute at the Akure Township stadium on Sunday, 30, April, 2017
Sunshine Stars trio of Ebitimi Agogo, Thompson Ezekiel and Ike Thankgod who were yet to debut were included for the first time in the team by coach Eguaveon
In the 29th minute, Enugu Rangers’ Ifeanyi George was close to scoring but his chipped ball over Sunshine Stars goalie, Henry Ayodele was off the goal post. Seven minutes later, Sunshine Stars’ Anthony Omaka scored but the assistant referee flagged the goal for an offside.
It was end to end action from both ends as offensive plays from the two teams kept the high tempo of the encounter had supporting fans glued to their seats for the greater part of the first half.
In the 57th minute, Enugu Rangers player, Osas Okoro handed the ball in his team’s 18-yard box to give away a penalty to the hosts. Sunshine Stars’ Ajibola Otegbeye calmly finished off the penalty kick to put the hosts ahead in the 58th minute.
In the 77th minute, the hosts were rewarded with the second goal of the evening by Alaba Adeniyi from a perfect counter attacking play move in the midfield with an assist from team mate, Thompson Ezekiel.
With this win, Sunshine Stars move to the 14th position while Enugu Rangers remain rooted to the 19th position in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) standings.
Austin Eguaveon (Sunshine Stars Manager): The former Super Eagles handler congratulated his lads for the win against the champions but emphasized that more work need to be done as the second marathon will soon commence.
“Enugu Rangers are a technically sound side but we were better on the day as we had to tidy up all the loose balls and hold on to the ball”, said coach Eguaveon.
Coach Eguaveon affirmed that his team is in full course as they look ahead for the second stanza as he is confident that his team will move to clinch the continental spot.
Ajibola Otegbeye (Sunshine Stars): The goal scorer was a delighted man as he said this win has pushed them to the 14th position but that the team will strive to perform better in the second stanza of the season.
“We are all happy we now have an experienced manager in the mould of coach Austin Eguaveon, we believe he will move us up the table so we all will play with our hearts for him,” Otegbeyefurther reiterated.
Chukwuma Agbo (Enugu Rangers Chief Coach): “We were so drab on the day as we did not make most of the chance we had to level up and possibly win at the end of 90 minutes”, said coach Agbo. “But I am happy with how we played, especially away from home because Sunshine Stars is a strong team”.
Matthew Etim (Enugu Rangers Captain): “We needed his win so bad because with two wins in our last two rescheduled games, we wanted to galvanize to move off the relegation zone of the table”, said Etim.
“We are currently 19th on the table and two outstanding matches yet to be played, we have to believe in ourselves, more so we can get all six points to end the first stanza of the league”.
SUNSHINE STARS XI: Henry Ayodele, Boboye Ezekiel, Ambrose Onyeka, Omaka Anthony, Nojeem Raji, Oke Ogagotoewho, Abbey Joseph (Alimi Sikiru 50’), Otegbeye Ajibola, Thomas Adeshina (Thompson Ezekiel 53’), Tope Abraham and Alaba Anthony.
Substitutes not used: Ariyo David, Thankgod Ike, Oluwadamilare Sunday, Kehinde Adedipe, and Ebitmi Agogo.
Manager: Austin Eguaveon
ENUGU RANGERS XI: Bassey Akpan, Etim Matthew, Osas Okoro, Chibuzor Madu, Pape Sane, Christian Madu, Bright Silas, Chiamaka Madu, Bobby Clement (Tope Olusesi 48’), IfeanyiGeorge and Daniel Etor (Obinna Nwobodo 67’).
Substitutes not used: Seidu Muta, Chizoba Amaefule, Okey Odita, Osamudiaye Adun, and Aguda Godwin
Chief coach: Chukwuma Agbo
Sunshine Stars: Anthony Omaka (31’)
Enugu Rangers: Chiamaka Madu (72’)
Sunshine Stars: Nil
Enugu Rangers: Nil
Sunshine Stars: Ajibola Otegbeye (58’ PK) and Alaba Adeniyi (77’)
Enugu Rangers: Nil