In its determination to steer clear of the murky waters of relegation of the Nigeria Professional Football Club (NPFL), Shooting Stars on Sunday hammered visiting Kano Pillars 4-0 in a Match- day 33 clash at the Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan.
However, the title race took a new dimension as leaders Wikki Tourists and Enugu Rangers both lost 1-0 at FC IfeanyiUbah and Nasarawa United, respectively.
Rivers United moved into second place on the table with 53 points after a 2-0 home win over Plateau United, while IfeanyiUbah are now third with 52 points.
On the back of the big home win against Pillars, Shooting Stars have now recorded 44 points from 32 matches, a point behind Pillars.
It was a deserved home win for the Ibadan club and a
sweet revenge after they were humiliated by the four-time Nigeria champions 6-0 in the first round of the season.
Striker Sunday Adetunji scored a second half brace to take his season’s tally to 10 goals with Ajani Ibrahim and Ifegwu Ojukwu also getting on the scoreboard in the first half.
After both teams had sized each other in the opening minutes, the Oluyole Warriors went straight to business with man of the match, Ifegwu Ojukwu, running in and shaking off Pillars central defender, Jamiu Alimi, to draw the first blood in the 9th minute.
The duo of Gambo Mohammed and Rabi’u Ali, highly influential in the Pillars system looked temporarily like they will rally their side back to contention but they had another thing coming as Ifegwu and Adetunji
Sunday set up mercurial Ajani Ibrahim in a goal rush and he calculatedly tapped in to make life more difficult for the visitors before the break.
At resumption of play, Shooting continued the mauling with Adetunji Sunday tapping in again from a goal-mouth situation and celebrating with salsa steps that increased the enjoyment file the fans.
With three goals down, Pillars looked psychologically drained, resulting in a brief altercation between Rabi’u Ali and Jamiu Alimi before the later was replaced with.
Even at that, there was no escape for Pillars from the anger of the Shooting side who had been humiliated with similar wide goal berth when they went to Kano earlier in the season.
Adetunji Sunday had rounded goalkeeper Yusuf Mohammed and kicked
towards goal but Jonathan Zikiye rushed up to clear. Still hungry for more, Adetunji preyed around again and delivered his brace in the 64th minute to completely deflate Pillars.