Sunshine Stars proved impregnable for the fourth time in as many visits to the Umuahia Township Stadium following a 1-1 draw with Abia Warriors in a week 4 NPFL tie on Sunday.
Fuad Ekelojuoti’s header inside the opening 20 minutes got the Owena Whales in front, however, Philip Auta’s 33rd minute effort against his former side earned the Warriors a share of the spoils on a sunny afteenoon in Umuahia.
Coach Kabiru Dogo enjoyed the luxury of calling on more of his new players as the trio of Timi ‘Omo Jesu’ Ogunniyi, Wasiu Jimoh and Uche Ihuarulam were handed their Sunshine Stars debuts in place of Rilwan Sadiq, Ajibola Otegbeye and Israel Abia in the starting XI.
The tweak in the set up proved to be a huge masterclass from Dogo as the visitors cancelled out the hosts in early duel for possessions and dominance in the entertaining and high tempo clash.
And in the 19′ one of the debutants, Omo Jesu carved out an opening in the Warriors backline with a low cross that was finished off in cold blood by Ekelojuoti after Ihuarulam’s first time effort had came off the goalkeeper.
Abia Warriors equalised in a way that gave the visitors reason to be aggrieved as Auta bundled home from a throwing-in appeared to have been wrongly awarded the homers, even in defiant to the AR1’s call 12 minutes before the break.
Two minutes into the second half Saliu Suleiman spared the Akure landlords blushes with a decive goal line save, before Godsgift Elkanah responded with a big save of his own to deny Ekelojuoti a certain second at the other end.
In the 64′ Abia made a trademark succesful run past his markers however his tame effort from six-yard out was stopped by Elkanah and 10 minutes later the bullish striker beautifully lay up for Rilwan Sadiq, but the midfielder’s effort was repelled by a desperate defending.
A combined efforts of brave goal keeping and smart defending helped Sunshine Stars survived a very close goal mouth scramble In the 78′, while Suleiman pulled a terrific save from point blank to deny Guy Keuimien six minutes from time.
The result extend the Owena Whales invisibility run against Abia Warriors to seven matches.
Sunshine Stars next host Enyimba FC in a league classical contest on Wednesday.