Friday, September 02, 2011

Sunshine edge Dolphins for top spot

Sunshine Stars have climbed to the top of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) log again after securing a point at Lobi Stars in Thursday's rescheduled game.

The new league leaders had to fight back from a goal down against Lobi Stars at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium to secure the point that moved them into number one spot again.

The game in Bauchi was however not devoid of controversy as the initial match officials - centre referee Santus Okoro from Imo as well as his assistant, C. I Durunna from Abia - were changed.

Attempts by to find out why the two officials were changed yielded no answer.

However, assistant referee, Auwalu Barau from Katsina State was retained while Abubakar Ago from Yobe and A. Husseni from Sokoto came in as centre referee and assistant referee two respectively.

The game kicked off on a fast tempo and the home side were awarded a 28th minute spot kick by Ago after a player of Sunshine Stars was adjudged to have handled the ball in the goal area.

Lobi Stars' centre-back and set-piece specialist, Moses Bunde made no mistake as he smashed the ball home from 18 yards to hand the home side a 1-0 lead.

But the lead lasted just 15 minutes. Ibrahim Ajani got Sunshine Stars' goal two minutes before half time.

The petite attacking midfielder beat the Lobi defence while trying to play a high line to slot home the leveller.

In spite of protest by Lobi players for the goal to be ruled offside, centre referee Ago consulted his assistant and promptly allowed the goal to stand.

The restart was a cagey performance from both sides though Sunshine were the more negative side.

However, Lobi thought they had sealed a win for themselves when striker Anthony Okpotu scored a late goal.

Centre referee Ago ruled out the goal for offside, as both teams shared the spoils.

Sunshine Stars are now tied on 64 points with Dolphins but edge the latter for top spot on superior goals difference.

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