Najeem Adeyinka’s 90th-minute goal broke the heart of Sunshine Stars fans in an entertaining southwest derby on Thursday in a Matchday 9 encounter in Akure.
The defender latched on to a loose ball in the box after a goalmouth scramble to salvage a point for travelling MFM FC after Israel Abia put the hosts ahead 13 minutes into the second half of the game.
In a largely uneventful first half, Sunshine Stars’ diminutive forward Fuad Ekelojuoti had the best chance of the half to break the deadlock when he found himself free in the box in the final minutes. The former Shooting Stars player went past two players, and with the keeper left to beat, he slipped in the box. The ball fell to Israel Abia, whose shot from the rebound went over the bar.
Earlier in the half, MFM were the busiest of both teams with three shots on target in the first half but they just could not break down the resolute Sunshine Stars’ defence. Sunshine Stars however came close in the 31st minute when Suleiman Mohammed’s attempt on goal was blocked in the box. Anthony Omaka with a rebound effort however forced goalkeeper Jerry Isaac to a fingertip save.
Sunshine Stars continued from where they left off in the first half. Eleven minutes after restart, Fuad Ekelojuoti, found his way into the box but could not make the most of the chance with a shot from his weaker foot rolling across the face of goal.
Breakthrough however came for the home team in the 63rd minute of the match when Israel Abia fired into an empty post. MFM keeper Jerry Isaac after catching an harmless cross dropped the ball right in front of Abia who wasted no time slotting the ball home.
Sunshine Stars kept on probing hoping to seal the game off with another goal, but they had the chance after chance go to waste. The Olukoya Boys kept their heads despite being behind. They got an opportunity to draw level but captain of the side Tunde Azeez could not find the target as he blasted over.
At the other end, Sunshine Stars goalscorer Israel Abia had a chance to double the lead but he had his shot blocked by the goalkeeper.
MFM got rewarded for their patience in the final minutes of the game when Adeyinka sent the ball into the roof of the net after a goalmouth melee, sending the MFM bench into a frenzy.
Sunshine Stars: 21. Soliu Suleiman; 10. Sunday Abe (C), 26. Jonathan Zikiye, 33. Bright Akpojuwevwo, 5. Tunde Abisoye, 13. Jide Fatokun, 14. Anthony Omaka, 17. Waheed Adebayo, 32. Fuad Ekelojuoti, 28. Israel Abia, 25. Mohammed Suleiman
Substitutes: 23. Olorunleke Ojo; 6. Seun Olulayo, 12. Kehinde Adeyemi, 9. Sadiq Yusuf, 20. Hillary Ikenna, 7. Wasiu Jimoh, 11. Silas Nwankwo
Coach: Kabiru Dogo
MFM FC: 25. Jerry Isaac; 3. Adeyinka Najeem, 4.Joshua Akpudje, 5. Oriyomi Lawal, 10. Akanni Elijah, 11. Dennis Obasi, 16. Adeniji Adewole Kabir, 18. Ogwu Clement, 21. Olarenwaju Falana, 24. Tunde Azeez (C), 34. Moses Adikwu
Substitutes: 1. Folarin Abayomi; 19. Justice Zacharia, 26. Muyiwa A. Balogun, 31. Kabiru Moshood, 35. Kenedinum Chuks, 39. Izuchukwu Chimezie, 12. Tosin Olubobola
Coach: Tony Bolus
Sunshine Stars 1-1 MFM FC
Shots (on target): 15(5)-8(5)
Corner Kick: 2-4
Yellow Cards: 3-1
Red Cards: 0-0