Sunshine Stars and Lobi Stars shared the points as a fiercely contested NPFL classic ended in a 4-goal thriller at the Ondo State Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Sadeeq Yusuf’s stoppages time goal canceled out Ossy Martins’ 77th minute strike to rescue the hosts from the jaw of a home defeat in the match day four clash.
Fuad Ekelojuoti drew the first blood for Sunshine Stars, heading home from a low cross inside the 10th minute. It was a richly deserved lead from an imposing start made to game by the Akure landlords.
The advantage could have been recorded two minutes earlier though when youngster, Kabiru Tijani hit high in front of goal, after being served with a great ball from the byline by Tolu Oluwole.
At the half hour mark, Ekelojuoti tried forced home his second of the day from an ill-timed Oluwole’s pass, but experienced goalkeeper, Mustapha Aliko got off his line speedily to thwart the chance from six-yard out.
Lobi Stars leveller came in the shape of a scrappy Martins’ effort adjudged to have crossed in, while Olatunde Abisoye tried spare the Owena Whales blushes with a goal line clearance at the stroke of half-time.
Sunshine Stars were at the front foot at the restart, forcing Aliko into making some uncomfortable saves with goal-bound grounders from Waheed Adebayo and Kehinde Adeyemi, before Seun Olulayo had a well-taken free kick headed out of goal by Adeleye Aniyikaye in the 73rd minute.
Regardless of the hosts frantic efforts at retaking the lead, it was the Pride of Benue who hit for 2-1 through Martins’ smashing effort in front 13 minutes from time.
In response to going behind, the coach Gbenga Ogunbote tinkered side went about their play with renew urgency at the home stretch and were close to a leveller when Adebayo drilled just wide at the edge of the area in the 90th minute.
Sunshine Stars probing paid off two minutes into stoppages time as Yusuf bundled into the back of the net off the rebound of fellow second half substitute, Ayo Akinlose’s wonderful free kick which appeared to have crossed the goal line off the frame.
Coach Kabiru Dogo charges survived the closing minutes onslaught of the hosts aimed at completing the turn around with a winner as honours were even at end of the thrilling contest involving two coaches who swapped employers in time for the 2020/21 season.
Sunshine Stars face Warri Wolves on match day five at home.