Uzoechi rescues point for Owena Whales
An 85th-minute penalty by Ejike Uzoechi salvaged a point for Sunshine Stars at home in a tough Nigeria Professional Football League match-day two duel against Rivers United in Akure on Thursday.
Ejike calmly netted the equaliser for the hosts from the spot with five minutes to the end of the game to earn a 1-1 draw after Rivers United had taken the lead courtesy or an own goal by Andrew Abalogu.
The first chance of the contest fell to Yusuf Ibrahim in the 11th of play, but the striker needed more accuracy to direct his header into the net after racing to beat Rivers’ goalkeeper to a pass.
Rivers United took the lead against the run of play in the 23rd-minute courtesy of an own goal by Andrew Abalogu while he tried to clear his line from a misjudged ball by the goalkeeper.
Seven minutes later, Sunshine Stars had the chance to level matters but Bashir Abdulrahman blasted over from a lay up from Temitope Vincent.
As the home side regrouped to find a way back into the game, Rivers United United became more dangerous on the attack and almost doubled the lead before halftime.
With the visors in the driver’s seat, chances were few and far between but the home side managed to threaten in search of an equaliser.
Emmanuel Ogunagu almost found the target in the 72nd minute with a low free kick which went inches off mark, just as Michael Olalusi and Ibrahim Yusuf forced Rivers’ goalkeeper into near post saves from different angles.
After making double changes at intervals in the game, coach Edith Agoye eventually heaved a sigh of relief in the 85th minute, thanks to an Uzoechi spot kick after a Rivers United player handled the ball in the box.
While Rivers United now have four points in two matches, Sunshine Stars now have two points from as many games.