Goals from Ifeanyi Anaemena and Bashir Abdulrahaman handed Enyimba a deserving 2-0 victory over Katsina United in an all-around dominant display at the Enyimba Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The build-up to the game was largely dominated by predictions of a closely fought encounter, but Anaemena opened scoring from the spot just after the half-hour and Abdulrahaman chipped in from a rebound in the second half as Enyimba rolled to an easy win.
The hosts began on a high note and called the Katsina United goalkeeper, Dami Paul, to duty in quick succession when Abdulrahaman piled a strike from Reuben Bala’s cut back and Anaemena pounced on the resultant corner.
With only ten minutes played, Usman Abd’Allah was forced to pull out Andrew Abalogu, who could not continue after a collision with an opponent, with Stanley Okorom coming on for his home debut.
Katsina United was reduced to ten men shortly after as Chinedu Ajana was given the marching orders for dissent, and Enyimba continued to press further for the opener. The hosts eventually took the lead when Okorom got hacked down by Dominic Abbah inside the box and Anaemena stepped up to convert from twelve yards.
A second red ensued for the hosts in first-half added time, this time to Dominic Abbah for dragging Abdulrahaman, with the striker in a good scoring position.
After the restart, Chukwuka Onuwa replaced the unusually anonymous Mustapha, and the pint-size midfielder contributed meaningfully as Enyimba poured forward with Thomas Zenke and Okorom only denied by the brilliance of Paul.
The hosts eventually found the cushion, however, when Abdulrahaman preyed on a rebound from Oladapo’s bullet to chip in his fourth of the season.
Mostly affected by their numerical disadvantage, Katsina offered little going forward and looked more concerned with keeping a respectable scoreline and were largely aided by Enyimba’s profligacy in the latter stages.
Enyimba, on account of the win, continued their steady up-thrust on the log after a stuttering start to the season, as the seven times champions are now second in group A.
In his post-match comments, the Enyimba technical adviser, Usman Abd’Allah, acknowledged the team’s failure to score more goals against nine-man Katsina United but maintained that gaining three points was far more important.
“Despite the fact that they had two men out, we still scored only two goals,” the gaffer began. “But when you look at the overall performance of the team, you look at the new players that have been integrated, they are doing very well. They are the future of this team.
“These are young vibrant players and I am happy with their performances. Like Reuben Bala is integrating very well and is beginning to get a place. You see Okorom came in for Abalogu and displayed a very good performance. That is what I want.
“I think I’m beginning to get the whole team settled now and they are integrating very well. I am happy with the integration of the team, I’m happy with thebuild-up of the team.
“Even though the supporters want to see more goals, the most important thing is three points. If you get three points and two goals, it’s a plus and I’m happy.”