Enugu Rangers’ Coach, Gbenga Ogunbote yesterday proved he knew Enyimba inside out when he set up his team for a hard fought victory over the Peoples Elephant.
It was Enyimba’s first loss in eight games, but while the Aba team rued its loss, the fans at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium left the arena feeling fully satisfied by the great game they witnessed. Ogunbote was Enyimba’s coach last season.
Both teams have 14 league wins between them and their recent exploits were enough drawing power for the fans. Ultimately, Rangers won the game through a Bright Silas’ early header, which the Peoples Elephant could not cancel in 90 minutes.
Enyimba Coach, Paul Aigbogun made four changes to the team that beat Energie of Benin Republic in a CAF Confederation Cup game on Wednesday, with the highly-rated Ikouwem Udoh making his first start of the season at left-back. Chinedu Udeagha came in for Stephen Chukwude, indicating a change of shape.
Straight from the off, Enyimba was on the front foot, and had two attempts on goal inside the first three minutes. It was, however, a regrettable moment of negligence that led to the only goal of the game.
A free kick from right was flighted in by Felix Ogbuke, and completely unmarked in the area was Silas, who sent a glancing header beyond Dauda and into the corner for the lead.
There was plenty to commend about Enyimba’s play following the early setback, but no reward for all their enterprise. Ikechukwu Ibenegbu saw a trademark free kick palmed over by former Enyimba goalkeeper Femi Thomas; and Stanley Dimgba rounded out a scintillating move on the right flank, involving three players, by forcing Thomas into an even more impressive save to his left.