Enyimba hammered vistors Katsina United into submission on Sunday, winning 2-0 in Calabar.
Goals in either half by Uche John and Joseph Osadiaye asserted the dominance of the two-time African champions, and indeed it may have been more but for a combination of misfortune and inconsistent finishing.
The People’s Elephant named an unchanged 11, the same selection which beat league leaders Lobi Stars in midweek. Midfield playmaker Jean Marie Guera began his third game in a row since joining, and Abdulrahman Bashir led the line.
Enyimba began the game on the front foot, and pretty much remained in the ascendancy all game long. Goalkeeper Abdullahi Boje was in no doubt as to the sort of afternoon he was in for, rushing out to head away a through ball and almost getting caught out of his goal inside the opening 10 minutes.
Both Bashir and Nigeria under-20 international Maxwell Effiom had volleyed presentable chances wide by the time the opening goal came. Some neat interplay saw Osadiaye flick Ibrahim Mustapha through, and the striker cut it back into the box for the onrushing Ikouwem Utin. The full-back’s shot was blocked by an outstretched arm, and the referee pointed to the spot.
Uche stepped up, and made no mistake, finding the top corner to give Enyimba the lead.
Bashir then struck the crossbar after swiveling to volley a cross from close range, and then another rat-a-tat move saw Effiom square for Osadiaye at the near post, but the winger could only sweep the ball narrowly wide.
A pair of misses by Mustapha, both from stupendous bits of play by Osadiaye, bookended the half-time break—one headed off the line, the second fired over the top with only thr keeper to beat.
With the energy in the stadium beginning to teeter toward nervousness, Osadiaye settled the matter himself, on hand to turn in the rebound after Freedom Omofoman’s effort was palmed back into traffic.
That put the game to rest, and propelled Enyimba to within six points of the top of the table with a game in hand.
FINAL: Enyimba (Uche John 13′, Joseph Osadiaye 66′) 2-0 Katsina United
Enyimba Starting XI: Theophilus Afelokhai, Andrew Abalogu, Isiaka Oladuntoye, Uche John, Ikouwem Utin, Ernest Governor, Jean Marie Guera, Maxwell Effiom (Freedom Omofoman 52′), Joseph Osadiaye (Mfon Udoh 87′), Ibrahim Mustapha (Chinonso Okonkwo 78′), Abdulrahman Bashir.
Unused substitutes: Friday Achimugwu, Chinedu Udeagha, Ifeanyi Anaemena, Tofic Omar.
Katsina United Starting XI: Abdullahi Boje (Yinka Simon 55′), Abdulrahman Isa, Samuel Tswanya, Dominic Aba, Chinedu Ajanah, Ikechukwu Nwachukwu, Joshua Agboola, Usman Bara’u, Obinna Eleje, Abdulkarim Ahmed (Monday Shishima 76′), Eric Gwammy (Joseph Adah 59′)
Unused substitutes: Faisal Sani, Debo Fashanu, Martin Usule, Eric Dufegha.