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By: Ade Adeleke
Sunshine Stars football club of Akure yesterday recorded a first home defeat in two seasons as Seka Pascal’s double earned maximum points for Enugu Rangers in a keenly contested Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) week 15 tie tainted by disputed calls at the Ondo State Sports Complex, Akure Sunday.
Rangers drew the first blood through Pascal who slotted past Ayo Ojo against the run of play in an opening 30 minutes dominated by Sunshine Stars, however the hosts will only trailed for two minutes as Anthony Omaka fired into the bottom right of Nana Bonsu off a goalmouth scuffle in the 31′.
After the equaliser the Owena Whales remained the dominant side and could have gotten their nose in front through Seun Olualyo who was set up by Dayo Ojo, but the wing back’s effort was adjudged to have come off the woodwork without crossing the goal line in the 37′.
Two minutes later Bonsu denied Omaka from six yards out with a full stretch save as Sunshine Stars continued to lay siege to the Flying Antelopes’ area.
At the stroke of halftime Pascal finished off expertly from another Rangers move on the break to complete his brace and restored his side’s advantage. The home side protested the goal for alleged offside, but the referee will not yield; 2-1 Rangers!
The second half followed a similar pattern as the first with the Owena Whales dominating possessions and at the hour mark Fuad Ekelojuoti drove into the visitors’ area, but his effort was too tame to trouble Bonsu.
Sunshine Stars thought they had found reprieve 15 minutes from time when Rangers were penalised for a handball in the area, however that only set the tone for a big drama as the goal scored by Omaka from Sasere’s penalty rebound was chalked off.
The disputed call was followed by another one on Chibundu Amah who went down in front of goal under a challenge, but was booked for simulation before Rangers managed to hold on for the win.
The coach Kabiru Dogo charges who now dropped a place to 6th on the log with 19 points will be away to Rivers United on match day 16 next sunday.