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By: Ade Adeleke
Goals from Franklin Sasere and Anthony Omaka from a near-perfect first half display helped Sunshine Stars edge Wikki Tourists 2-1 in a thrilling Nigerian Professional Football League, NPFL week 17 contest at the Akure Sports Complex.
With Sunday’s win in Akure the Owena did the double over the Elephants of Bauchi following a 1-0 win in the first stanza at the Pantami, Gombe.
Sasere opened scoring in the 14th minute with a flying header to put Omaka’s lobbed cross beyond an onrushing Chinedu Anthony.
Fifteen minutes later, Sunshine Stars were forced into making a substitution as Ajibola Otegbeye could no longer continue due to a knock and he was replaced by Kolade Adeniji who made his introduction count.
The first involvement of Adeniji was a sumptuous cross from the right to Sasere which the striker headed over the bar.
Just after then, he delivered another impeccable cross and Omaka was at the end of it to double Sunshine Star’s advantage.
The last kick of the first half was the visitors’ response which saw Abba Umar pull one back for the visitors with a volley inside the area preceded by a deft control.
Sunshine Stars resumed the second half where they ended the first, slicing their opponents in search of another goal.
With three minutes into the half, Anthony Omaka started another move and gave a final through ball to Adeniji on the far right but Chindeu Anthony came out on time to deny Sunshine of a two goal cushion.
Wikki had their moments too, but the closest they went was Ahmed Jimoh heading over the bar off a cross from the right.
Sunshine Stars had another chance through Chigozie Obasi, but the full back’s powerful freekick went straight at the goalie and all he could do was punch it out to safety.
Sunshine Stars could not add to their advantage but ensured they guarded their first half lead in the second.
The victory steered the Owena Whales clear of the drop zone and moved the Kabiru Dogo’s charges up to 6th on the log with 23 points ahead of a match day 18 meeting with Remo Stars in Shagamu on Wednesday.