Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunshine lose at Wolves, remain top

Nigeria Premier League (NPL) leaders, Sunshine Stars, surrendered all points in 0 – 2 loss to Warri Wolves in Sunday’s big clash on Matchday 28.

Though centre referee, Ibrahim Shehu, made some controversial calls, the two teams produced end-to-end football and key battles all over the park as expected.

Michael Okoyoh and ThankGod Ike got the goals for Wolves in each half at the Warri City Stadium to earn all points in this game between first and second placed sides on the log.

In a game that was not lacking top performers in the league this season Sunshine Stars thought they had got a dream start in the match on 12 minutes when Ukeyima Akombo nodded past Ambrose Vanzekin in goal for Wolves.

The goal was correctly ruled off by the match officials as the replay on television suggested.

On 26 minutes, the ref awarded Wolves a penalty to the amazement of the away team and Okoyoh’s first attempt is punched into his path by goalkeeper Moses Ocheje, and the midfielder smashed home from a rebound to give the home side a 1 – 0 lead.

Eight minutes later, Oke Akpoveta thought he had scored from the right channel of Sunshine Stars’ goal area after his low shot squeezed past a scrambling Ocheje.

But the goal was ruled offside by the match officials and Sunshine Stars saved the blushes of going two down before half time.

With Wolves’ head coach, Paul Aigbogun deploying Michael Egbeta and Akpoveta as wide men on both channels of the opposition’s half Sunshine Stars’ full-backs usually noted for overlapping were pegged back.

Just on the stroke of half time, a shout for a Wolves’ penalty was ignored by the referee after Ifeanyi Okoye was clearly felled in the box, as he cut inside of his marker to make space for himself to shoot at goal.

The restart got off to a cagey note, as both sides battled to claim superiority in the midfield.

And 19 minutes into the second half, Wolves got their second of the game when centre-back, Ike, stormed forward to nod home the ball past Ocheje off a corner kick.

Wolves then sat back while Sunshine Stars orchestrated some of their attacks with leading league scorer, Ibrahim Ajani in the thick of his side’s moves without success.

The home side formed a unit in front of their goal area to protect their lead comfortably.

Right-back Ofem Inah almost got Sunshine Stars back in the game 14 minutes before time through a curling free kick that forced Vanzekin into a one-handed save.

Inah’s attempt was Sunshine’s best in the last minutes of the game as Wolves close the gap on the leaders to five points.

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