Playing at home in Akure, Sunshine Stars Football Club recently defeated former champions, Rangers International of Enugu 3-1 in a match which saw a player each from both sides being sent off.
The Match Day 7 fixture in the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) was played at the Ondo State Sports Complex in Akure.
Striker Sadeeq Yusuf opened scores by powering home into the bottom corner from inside the penalty box to give the hosts the lead with his fifth goal of the season.
In the 34th minute, wing player Fuad Ekelojuoti bundled home Chinedu Udechuckwus’s cross into the penalty box to make it 2-0.
However, Godspower Aniefiok reduced the deficit for the visitors to make it 2-1 in the 59th minute.
Udechuckwu restored his side’s two-goal advantage two minutes later from a free-kick on the edge of the penalty box.
However, the game turned on its head in the 78th minute when players from both sides threw punches at each other, leading to the match coming to a halt momentarily.
The match referee later sent off Sunshine Stars’ defender Bright Akpojuvewho and Rangers’ Ifeanyi Nweke.
Rangers’ Head Coach, Salisu Yusuf, later said his team would put the game behind them and focus on their next encounter.
“We lost a bit of concentration because of the distruption in the game, but it happens in football,” he said.
The coach however refused to agree that the referee lost control of the game.
”There were certain moments that looked like he had lost the control of the game, but later on he controlled the game,” he said.
Sunshine Stars’ Head Coach, Gbenga Ogunbote, on his part said it was a great result for them, especially after scoring three goals and taking the three points against “almighty” Rangers.
“It will give us more courage that we can still do it.”
Ogunbote, who refused to comment on the officiating of the game, added that he was happy the referee was able to manage the incident that disrupted the game.
”Such things do happen at the highest level of football too “.
Sunshine Stars are now fourth on the NPFL log and will be guests of Abia Warriors on Match Day 8 of the league.