Enyimba Football Club enhanced their chances of sealing a berth in the playoff round of the Nigeria Professional Football League with a decisive 3-1 win against Rangers International at the Enyimba Stadium on Sunday evening.
Centreback Ifeanyi Anaemena scored a brace of headers and Beninese midfielder, Jean-Marie Guera, tapped in a third to belittle Godwin Aguda’s incredible second half goal, as the People’s Elephant claimed bragging rights and vital points against their Eastern rivals.
The game quickly erupted to the level of its prematch billings with both teams throwing numbers forward to make for an end to end start.
And it took only fourteen minutes for the first goal to arrive. Andrew Abalogu was fouled on the right and Anaemena rose highest to head Thomas Zenke’s resultant free kick beyond Nana Bonsu and into the top left corner.
The hosts doubled the lead four minutes later with Zenke centrally involved again. The winger dashed down the left and put a low cross towards Guera, who collected and shot into Bonsu’s bottom right.
Rangers responded with a quick substitution, bringing on Ifeanyi George for Emeka Ayogueke, but it was Enyimba who came close again, Bashir Abdulrahaman shooting wide from range while the visitors backline slept.
As the half wore on, the visitors tried to fight their ways back into the game, and caused a few scares, especially with Pascal Seka’s glancing header that pulled a smart save from Theophilus Afelokhai.
The restart, however, turned better for Ogunbote’s side as Godwin Aguda sliced the deficit with an unstoppable strike from the edge of the box, and opened the chance for a fight back.
Such chances were nippled barely ten minutes later, though, when Anaemena got to the end of Abdulrahaman’s flick on Dimgba’s cross to head into an empty net to mark his brace and fourth of the season, as well as restore Enyimba’s two-goal advantage in the process.
In search of a lifeline, Rangers threw on Ifeanyi Egwim, but it was Aguda who had the chance to pull another, yet failed to capitalise on Afelokhai’s spilled ball that exposed an open net.
With four minutes added on, there was time for another chance for Enyimba when Zenke picked Olatunji’s run on the right and crossed in, but Dimgba’s contact with the ball fell short failed to produce another goal on an evening of breathtaking display.