Enyimba Football Club have bounced back from a three-game winless run with a 2-0 win over Rivers United in a convincing display at the Enyimba Stadium on Sunday evening.
The seven times Nigerian champions were in search for their first win since the opening day victory against MFM FC, and two beautifully worked goals from Abdulrahaman Bashir and Wasiu Alalade at the conclusion of each half ensured that the People’s Elephant picked maximum points on home turf.
Abdulrahaman returned to the starting line-up after being dropped to the bench in the loss against Rangers in one of three changes made by Usman Abd’Allah.
The others saw captain Andrew Abalogu return to right back while Nasiru Sani stepped in for the injured Benjamin Francis in the left back position.
Despite dominating proceedings from the onset, the home supporters were kept at the edges of their seats as Enyimba failed to seize any of the chances that fell their way following an aggressive start.
Abdulrahaman came close in the tenth minute but watched as his effort rattled off the woodwork after being setup by Abalogu. Shortly after, Farouk Mohammed’s penalty shout was turned down by the centre referee after the midfielder’s effort struck the arm of a Rivers United player inside the box.
Osadiaye also came close with a 25-yard free kick that went just over, before Abdulrahaman finally broke the camel’s back seven minutes before the interval with a composed finish following a confident incursion by strike partner Ibrahim Mustapha.
The forward appeared to have cupped a knock in a collision with the Rivers United goalkeeper, Bamba leading to the goal, and required medical attention before seeing out the remainder of the half.
Enyimba returned from the break with similar urgency and opened further chances as Jean-Marie Guera replaced Osadiaye early on. Mustapha should have doubled the lead in the 50th minute, but smashed into Bamba after being put through by the impressive Guera.
Thomas Zenke also missed from point blank range with Abd’Allah effecting more changes in search for a vital second.
Alalade replaced Mustapha and Onuwa came on for Abdulrahaman in the team’s second and third changes, and it was the substitutes that combined for the cushion in the closing stages of the game.
Onuwa cleverly stepped over Zenke’s pass, before Alalade slotted into Bamba’s far right to compete a delightful exchange of passes that began from deep midfield.