A spirited Sunshine Stars returned empty handed from the Aper Aku on Sunday.
Two goals from John Lazarus and Ossy Martins in either side of Uzochukwu Ogonna’s opener were all Lobi Stars needed to edge the hard-fighting visitors on NPFL match day 24.
The Owena Whales made a strong start to proceedings and could’ve gone ahead after 12 minutes. However, Sadeeq Yusuf fired just wide from close range with better-placed Ifegu Ojukwu waiting for a cut back pass in front of goal.
Nonetheless, Ugonna put Sunshine Stars up with his first goal in the colours of the club three minutes later. The joy of the goal was short lived as John Lazarus fired Lobi Stars back on level terms in the 18th minutes.
Eight minutes later, the hosts took the lead courtesy of Ossy Martins’ deft flick from goal mouth.
As the break approached, Kehinde Adedipe also tried to get Sunshine Stars back in the game again, but his volley was kept out by the goalkeeper.
Another chance presented itself just after the restart when Fuad Ekelojuoti who was sent through, but went down under a challenge in the box, and the referee was unmoved by the penalty appeal.
Second-half substitute, Waheed Adebayo was also denied by a last-ditch clearance in the closing stages as the hosts saw out the win.
Speaking after the game, Coach Kayode Emmanuel of Sunshine Stars blamed hard luck for this latest defeat.
He said: “We lost the game due to hard luck; the boys played well and this should not weigh them down. I believe we have all what its take to escape relegation and by the grace of God, we will survive.
“I have not been appointed to take charge of the team as Head coach, we are only holding forth pending the time the management will make definite pronouncement on the role.”
Sunshine Stars visits Warri Wolves on match day 25