Enyimba have moved closer to winning their record eighth Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) title after they defeated FC Ifeanyi Ubah 3-1 on Monday at the Agege Stadium, Lagos in a Championship playoffs tie.
The People’s Elephant’s goals were scored by Reuben Bala, who fired a brace in the 19th and 43rd minutes, while Abdulrahman Bashir ensured the Anambra Warriors comeback was obliterated with the third goal in the 56th minute. FC IfeanyiUbah had levelled through Promise James in the 31st minute.
Having heard the results of the earlier played two matches, which ended in draws, Usman Abd’Allah’s men went into their fixture knowing that a win over the supposed whipping boys of the group would leapfrog them to the top of the table, ahead of Kano Pillars.
They were at it early with Bala securing the opener in the 19th minute after a beautiful pass freed the former Plateau United attacker, and he duly dribbled past FC Ifeanyi Ubah goalkeeper Sharp Uzoigwe, before slotting the ball into an empty net.
The Anambra Warriors quickly responded and they were back on level terms 11 minutes after Enyimba’s opener through James’ fiercely-struck free-kick, which beat Theophilus Afelokhai in goal for the People’s Elephant.
FC Ifeanyi Ubah woke up after their equaliser and could have taken the lead had they utilised the chances which came their way.
They would, however, rue their profligacy two minutes before half-time when Bala got his second goal of the game through the error by the Nnewi side’s goalkeeper.
The keeper spilled a shot played towards his path and Bala arrived to apply the finishing touch to ensure that the seven-time league champions were 2-1 ahead at half-time.
There was a third goal for Enyimba from Bashir, which killed off the Anambra Warriors’ resistance in the 56th minute.
The attacker picked up a pass from Chinedu Udeagha and shrugged off his marker before putting the ball past Uzoigwe, to the admiration of his teammates and fans.
The win has restored Enyimba back to the top of the NPFL Championship Playoffs table with nine points from four games, and it also guaranteed their place in a Caf competition next year with a game to spare.
The loss suffered by Uche Okagbue’s men ensured that they would end the tournament at the bottom of the group irrespective of the result of their final game against Enugu Rangers on Wednesday.