Match Report: Enyimba 3-0 Lobi Stars.
Before the game, club Chairman Felix Anyansi Agwu said it would take outstanding results to get fans coming back to the Stadium to watch Enyimba again and with such performances as their game this evening, it won’t be long before the fans would fill the Stadium once more.
The season had started in very poor form by Enyimba’s standards. 2-1 Home defeat to Bamako FC and more recently a 1-0 home defeat to League newcomers Abia Warriors had left fans feeling disinterested and the stadium which usually gets filled on Match days now has galleries empty as though they had been closed for construction work. This evening however, the Aba Blues had something special for fans who decided to come.
From Kick Off, the home team did not give Lobi Stars any opportunity to settle. Sibi Gwar in his usual stout, pacey, strong runs drawing Center Backs with him created spaces for the trio of Mfon Udoh, Andrew Abalogu and Bashir Abdulrahman.
Gwar’s effort in the 7th minute was far from accurate and was a sign of things to come but a succession of corner kicks kept the Lobi Defence on their toes and it was not long before the deadlock was broken. Enyimba skipper Chinedu Udorji cleared a rare Lobi attack and the ball fell to Rasheed Olabiyi. He found Andrew Abalogu who drove into the area and tripped as he made ready to strike but still held off the ball expertly. Spotting Bashri unmarked laid the ball to him and the number 7 Jersey simply passed the ball beyond the desperately lunging defenders; 1-0 to the home team.
Lobi had a chance to equalize as the Enyimba midfield was guilty of ceding possession easily and all of a sudden Enyimba was on the back foot in a 2 v 1 situation. Razak Aliyu released Akombo Ukeyima but rather than hit the back of the net, the striker simply passed the ball into the waiting arms of Paul Godwin in the Enyimba goal. It was an easy chance and he knew it. Even his manager Evans Ogenyi had his hands on his head.
Haven fluffed their chance, Enyimba made them pay. A quick counter saw Mfon Udoh escape down Lobi’s right. He waited, looked up and saw Abalogu running down Ujah’s blind side. Perfectly weighted cross and Abalogu nodded in. The winger ran towards the fans to celebrate pointing to the name behind his jersey, surely they enjoyed that.
Lobi looked a side deflated. Nothing was working for them in the middle of the park and on the 30th minute, it was almost 3-0. Bashri was through with only the keeper to beat but the ball couldn’t get to his feet quick enough and Joseph Ujah cleared.
The second Period started with Lobi on the front foot as much of the Ball was in Enyimba’s half. They had series of free kicks that failed to trouble Godwin. With Chinedu Udorji leading that back line in the way he did today, it is no coincidence that they went the whole of last season without conceding a goal at home.
Mfon Udoh and Abalogu kept switching flanks all through the game as they found joy down Lobi’s left. A lot of those chances were wasted and even though they won so comprehensively today, Zachary Baraje will be worried as to why his side failed to make those opportunities count. In tight games against more organized opponents, the difference could lie in taking such chances.
Mfon Udoh would get his goal later in the game as the Lobi defence went asleep again in the 37th minute of the second half. The attacker struck nicely from outside the box beyond the reach of Melai to put the game to bed. Now the fans were “Oleing” and even though the clouds were gathering, no one wanted to leave.
The performance left the fans in bullish mood after the game, one even asked when the team will head to Umuahia to play Abia Warriors- the only league defeat at home so far this season. Well, not to take away the excellent team performance today, Baraje must find a solution to Sibi Gwar’s mini goal drought. For the side from Makurdi, today, they played like they prefer life in the lower division.