Goals from Yahuza Bala and Franklin Sasere earned Sunshine Stars a 2-0 win over Rivers United on Wednesday, extending the Akure Gunners’ winning run against the Port Harcourt side to six.
The visitors went into the game with a terrible record, having not scored against Sunshine Stars since August 19, 2015. They had also failed to pick up any points against the hosts in the period — and were aiming to end that run.
However, their hopes were dashed, as second-half strikes from Bala and Sasere handed Duke Udi’s men all three points at the Ondo Sports Complex.
The first half failed to produce any goals – but Sunshine, who dominated – had the ball in the net just before the break. Sikru Alimi headed past Sunday Rotimi in the Rivers United goal but the effort was chalked off for an infringement.
Bala finally broke the deadlock in the 74th minute to set the Akure club on the road to their sixth consecutive win against the Pride of Rivers. The forward finished acrobatically from close range to send the home crowd into ecstasy.
And five minutes from time, Bala turned provider — picking out Sasere, who bundled in to seal victory for the home side.
Speaking to the press after the match, Sunshine Stars coach, Duke Udi, acknowledged the impact of his substitutes.
“We know they planned to earn a draw here and it worked in the first half even though we had a goal disallowed but in the second half we made two attacking changes that paid off,” he said.
The former Osun United handler also admitted that Stanley Eguma’s side played well.
“This River United side are better than the one we me last season. They are good passers of the ball and dangerous. I think they will go places.”
Sunshine Stars Match Stats*
Sunshine Stars 2-0 Rivers United
Yahuza Bala 74′
Frank Sasere 85′
Caution: Sasere 38′
•Sunshine Stars XI: Henry Ayodele, Sunday Abe (C), Alaba Adeniyi (Seun Olulayo 56′), Jide Fatokun, Nojeem Raji, Adebayo Adigun, Abiodun Joseph, Kehinde Adedipe, Franklin Sasere, Omotayo Adebogun (Sunday Emmanuel 63′), Sikiru Alimi (Yahuza Bala 65′)
•Unused Substitutes: David Ariyo, Niyi Adekunle, Anthony Omaka, Charles Okoro
•Rivers United Starting XI: Sunday Rotimi, Markson Ojobo, Festus Austine, Gabriel Olalekan, Elum Sochima (Ali Chiwendu 89′), Rolland Koffi (Israel Daniel 72’), Sunday Afolabi, Bamba Bakari, Guy Kuemian (Samuel Akinbinu 66′), and Oche Ochowechi.
Substitutes not Used: Robert Cole, Ikeleji Bello, Ayo Asekunuwo and Eneji Otekpa. Goals Yahuza Bala 76′ and Franklin Sasere 84.’
Yellow card: Kofi Rolland (44’)
Red card: nil
Man of the match: Bala Yahuza (Sunshine Stars)