Goals from Dimgba Stanley, Frimpong Eric from well taken Ibenegbu Ikechukwu’s free kicks and Ibrahim Mustapha’s tap in was all Enyimba Int’l of Aba needed to beat Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) Ilorin FC 3-0 in Calabar on Sunday.
The match day 34 2016/2017 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), encounter was played at the U.J Eusene Stadium, Calabar.
An unmarked Dimgba Stanley connected a well taken Ibenegbu Ikechukwu’s free kick for the first goal in the 16th minute when he headed past Nurudeen Mudasir in goal for the visitors.
Martin Ossy should have leveled the score for the Saraki Boys in the 22nd minute when he followed an attempt after a defensive mix-up by Enyimba defenders but the striker’s effort went wide after Dauda Fatau rushed out of his line to challenge him for the ball.
The hosts dictated most proceedings in the game played in a farm-like U.J Eusene Stadium after a heavy downpour.
Enyimba was always playing comfortably despite the pitch been water logged and were presented with another opportunity in the 44th minute when its player was brought down for a free kick.
Ibenegbu Ikechukwu again stepped forward to take it in the 45th minute and Frimpong Eric made no mistake by heading past Nurudeen Mudasir for the 2nd goal.
The Saraki Boys returned for the 2nd half determined but Enyimba showed more maturity to claim the day.
Chukwude Stephen and Ibrahim Mustapha were always dangerous moving forward but Ernest Governor marshaled his area well to deny them couple of opportunities.
Former ABS player maker, Andrew Abalogu had connected well with Chukwude who crossed firmly into the Saraki Boys’ box before Ibrahim Mustapha, who seems offside at the time tapped in his effort for the 3rd goal.
The introduction of Emmanuel Ugbo and Ibrahim Abdullahi brought life into the visitors’ game but a firm and determined Enyimba claimed the three points at stake.
Speaking after the game, ABS FC Coach, Henry Makinwa, said his team lost to a more matured side.
“We played against a better side, senior players, more organised team.
“I parade young guys who cannot play under a condition we find ourselves today but that is not an excuse for me.
“They (Enyimba) showed maturity, they played better. They had the possession and scored their goals.
“The fight is on till the last game of the season” Makinwa said.
His Enyimba FC counterpart, Gbenga Ogunbote, said the victory was well deserved.
Ogunbote explained that the victory has made the fight for a continental ticket interesting but agreed that there is still plenty to play for.
The Enyimba gaffer, opined that there are good players in his team and people are now becoming aware of the fact.
ABS and Enyimba will on Wednesday in Ilorin lock horns again in the round of 64 of the Aiteo Cup.