Sunshine Stars recent winning running in the 2019/20 NPFL campaign has been halted as the first instalment of the season’s Southwest derby with MFM ended 1-1 at the Ondo State Sports Complex Thursday.
Adeyinka Nojeem strike late in stoppage time to cancelled out Israel Abia’s goal and denied the Owena Whales a fourth successive victory in the match day nine thrilling encounter.
In a eventful opening half, Anthony Omaka who was re-listed to the starting XI alongside Sunday Abe and Fuad Ekelojuoti had the first real crack at goal with a half volley that was tipped over by goalkeeper, Jerry Isaac in the 31′.
In the 37′ Kabiru Adeniji’s lob from an acute angle caused a big scare for the home crowd. Goalkeeper Saliu Suleiman was already drawn out of his line.
At the stroke of half-time, the hosts splitted MFM’s defence and should have taken the lead through Ekelojuoti who was unmarked in front goal, but his weak effort could not escaped Isaac while a follow up effort from the rebound was miscued by Abia.
11 minutes into the restart Ekelojuoti brilliantly out ran his markers to drill just wide agonisingly from inside the area.
Abia broke the deadlock in the 63′ after staying alerted to capitalise on a mix up in the Olukoya’s Boys’ backline and finished into an empty net.
Abia was close to killing off the contest four minutes from time, but Isaac again made a timely save to deny him at the near-post after a terrific run into the area.
The home fans were stunned deep into stoppage time when the Olukoya Boys secured a share of the spoils through Nojeem’s samshing leveller from a goal mouth melee.
With the point earned Sunshine Stars climbed back into the top four with 15 points from nine matches. The coach Kabiru Dogo charges will next face Rivers United in Portharcourt on Sunday.
Speaking with Coach Kabiru Dogo after the match who was visibly not just satisfied with the outcome of the game, blamed the draw on his side profligacy in front, but appeared upbeat his boys will overcome the disappointing result in their next game.
“The boys were distracted psychologically and we failed to win this game beacuse we didn’t take our chances, particularly in the first half, also in the second. But it’s one of those things about football. We are going to work to get it right again from our next match.”