The players, technical crew and fans of Sunshine Stars of Akure were left to wonder what hit them as Kano Pillars stylishly ambushed them on home ground to cart away all three points in the match day 14 encounter of the Nigeria Professional Football League, Sunday evening.
Hero and player of the day, Adamu Mohammed, came in as substitute for Omo Johnson in the 80th minute and did the damage two minutes afterwards when he drove to the extreme corner of the far post in a goal mouth tussle that left Sunshine goalkeeper Ezenwa blinded. The entire stadium was shocked to silence as they gazed at the eventual possibility of a home lose.
Pillars almost double the margin in the 89th minute when Prince Aggrey received a through pass in the box with Ezenwa at his mercy but he chose not to pull the trigger, preferring instead to cut back to place the ball on his right foot and he was dispossessed on the process.
Sunshine’s desperate charge back to remedy situation came to no avail as Dayo Ojo opened all salvo firing at close range in the 83rd, 84th and 88th minutes but Pillars keeper, Yusuf Mohammed kept producing stunning saves.
Mohammed would perhaps be the most stumbling block for Sunshine as he had also produced several such saves in the first half to nullify the huge chances that Sunshine Stars created.
The encounter was opened with Sunshine Samad Quadri breaking in twice in the early minutes but Yusuf rushed out on those occasions to stop his shots just as Dayo Ojo’s 25th minute strike was blocked by the defense line.
Sunday Abe attempted two brilliant free kicks in the first half but one found the side net while Yusuf Mohammed parried the other for a corner kick. Lanky defender, Stephen Eze, also showed up for several corner kicks but his closes in the 27th minute was also block off to the corner.
Sunshine got close to drawing the first blood in the 70th minute as hard working substitute Dele Olorundare ran into a cross and nodded powerfully but his effort was returned by the bar.
It was a game in which Pillars demonstrated great tactical depth, keeping the pace under control, ensuring good presence in the midfield and measuring their movements on the attack while Sunshine kept probing and getting no answers.
Sunshine Team Manager, Solomon Ogbeide, says both teams exhibited the best of football but his players got punished for not taking their chances.
“It is often so in football that when you play well and do not convert the chances you create you get punished. That is what happened in this game. It is not as if Pillars did not play well to deserve their victory but my boys failed to take the so many chances they created. It was also a bit of hard luck especially if you consider the header by Dele Olorundare which hit the bar. I had thought the ball was already in.”