Possibly to steer clearly away from relegation zone as the Nigeria Professional Football League hits finishing stretch, Shooting Stars of Ibadan pressed full throttle to pummel visiting Kano Pillars 4-0 on match day 33 at Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan.
After both teams had sized each other in the opening minutes, the Oluyole Warriors went straight to business with man of the match, Ifegwu Ojukwu, running in and shaking off Pillars central defender, Jamiu Alimi, to draw the first blood in the 9th minute.
The duo of Gambo Mohammed and Rabi’u Ali, highly influential in the Pillars system looked temporarily like they will rally their side back to contention but they had another thing coming as Ifegwu and Adetunji Sunday set up mercurial Ajani Ibrahim in a goal rush and he calculatedly tapped in to make life more difficult for the visitors before the break.
At resumption of play, Shooting immediately resumed the mauling with Adetunji Sunday tapping in again from a goal mouth situation and celebrating with salsa steps that increased the enjoyment file the fans.
With three goals down, Pillars looked psychologically drained, resulting in a brief altercation between Rabi’u Ali and Jamiu Alimi before the later was replaced with.
Even at that, there was no escape for Pillars from the anger of the Shooting side who had been humiliated with similar wide goal berth when they went to Kano earlier in the season.
Adetunji Sunday had rounded goalkeeper Yusuf Mohammed and kicked towards goal but Jonathan Zikiye rushed up to clear. Still hungry for more, Adetunji preyed around again and delivered his brace in the 64th minute to completely deflate Pillars.
Shooting Stars stand-in captain, Seun Akinyemi, says they were simply motivated by the understanding that they either shape up or ship out from the elite league which should not happen.
“The simple motivation was that we knew we are around relegation and that should not happen. Shooting is too big a club to go on relegation,” he said.
Shooting gaffer, Gbenga Ogunbote, over-joyed with the performance of his boys confirms that they were self motivated.
“The motivation came from the players themselves. You could see that they wanted to play. We planned to score and we put in three strikers. That enabled us to keep pressure on our opponents and the boys delivered.”
Pillars Technical Adviser, Babaganaru Mohammed, said to be slightly indisposed, was replaced by assistant coach Abdulsalam Abubakar and he who is yet to understand what happened to his team.
“It was just a bad day for us. My boys were not fatigued because we left Kano since Friday, rested well at Akure and came in to Ibadan early in the day. The early goal by Shooting demoralized my players. It is unfortunate that in their bid to recover we conceded another goal and my boys apparently lost steam.”