Enyimba Pip Leaders Plateau 1-0 In Calabar

In a game billed as a must-win, Enyimba rose to the occasion on Sunday with a victory over Plateau United in Calabar.

The Jos-based side have taken the Nigeria Professional Football League by storm this season, and have been top of the log for over 80 per cent 0f the total league matchdays.

It was understandably billed as a heavyweight clash, and a test of the visitors’ true title mettle.

Andrew Abalogu’s long range strike in the 70th minute settled matters in the end, but it would not be uncharitable to state that the 1-0 scoreline flattered Plateau United. Asked afterward about the standard of the league leaders, Technical Adviser Gbenga Ogunbote was unequivocal as to the gulf between both sides.

“The truth of the matter is that if not that we were wasteful, we should be talking of four goals.”

Enyimba may have dominated utterly, but some profligate finishing kept the scoreline modest. Indeed, twice inside the opening 25 minutes, captain Mfon Udoh had good sights of goal inside the area, but failed to hit the target on either occasion.

Ikechukwu Ibenegbu’s superb free kick then drew a big save from Plateau United goalie Dele Ajiboye.

Ugochukwu Leonard also had a header cleared off the line, having beaten the onrushing Ajiboye to the ball on the edge of the area. On the half-hour mark, Udoh ran into the six-yard box unmarked, but could only volley Ikechukwu Ibenegbu’s measured dink over the top.

“The truth of the matter is we have a challenge in that area [finishing],” Ogunbote admitted.

There was still time in the first half for two more huge misses, Leonard heading down and over from a Stanley Dimgba cross, and an improvised flick from Udoh which did not come off.

There was a lull in tempo in the second period, and when Ogunbote withdrew top scorer Udoh on the hour mark, it seemed a long day was in store. Ten minutes later though, the breakthrough came in unlikely fashion.

Ibrahim Mustapha did well to hold up the ball and find Dimgba in the box. His lay-off was attacked by ersatz full-back Abalogu, roaring up from the back to fire past Ajiboye, whose effort to parry proved inadequate.

“I think they were lucky,” said Ogunbote. “We had a few begging chances that we could have converted. But the important thing is we have gotten the goal, and we have gotten the three points.”

The Technical Adviser made a note to commend the officiating, noting, “I can assure you if we get this kind of officiating everywhere and lose, I’ll blame myself and my team.”

Source: Enyimba FC Media Channel

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