Mfon stars as Enyimba shrug off poor start in derby win 

For the first time in three years, we beat Rangers International at our ‘home’. Sounds almost unbelievable doesn’t it? Last season was a 1-1 scoreline in Port Harcourt and in our last title winning season, Musa Najere rescued a point for us in front of the Aba faithful. That game ended 1-1 as well. So when our former winger, Daniel Etor fired a Freekick home in the opening stages, I did fear for the worst. 

But Chukwude who netted against Rangers in Port Harcourt pulled us level right after the break before the best striker on earth, Mfon Udoh ensured Imama and his lads would remain rooted at the bottom of the League table. You want to feel sorry for the League Defending Champions but we have entered that zone where dropping points at home cannot be tolerated. 

I didn’t see the game, so I’ll share the post of someone who did. There equally is a post on the LMC website, I believe where you can read Colin Udoh’s account of the game. He included Mfon’s pledge to score against Rangers today, promising to pay them 10,000 if he didn’t. You should go read all that but below yet again is the club official match report. 

Enyimba secured derby bragging rights and returned to winning ways with 2-1 victory over Enugu Rangers in Calabar. The People’s Elephant however were made to work for the points, with captain and top scorer Mfon Udoh netting the winner in the final minute of regulation time.

Midfield stalwart Kelly Kester was unable to recover from the ankle injury sustained in midweek against Wikki Tourist, and so Solomon Okpako took his place in the starting line-up. On the other hand, Theophilus Afelokhai shook off a slight knock to man the sticks, after Fatau Dauda had so ably deputized in Bauchi.

The visitors were straight onto the attack in the opening period, and caught Enyimba somewhat cold. A foul was given against defender Ifeanyi Anaemena for going to ground, and former Enyimba winger Daniel Etor stepped up to curl the free kick over the wall and in.

Only seven minutes had lapsed to that point, but the pattern of the game was pretty much set from that point on: the hosts attacking, the visitors battening down the hatches.

Yet, only a minute later, the People’s Elephant could have been level. Ikouwem Udoh found space on the left, and crossed to the far post for Ibrahim Mustapha. His knockdown fell to Stanley Dimgba inside the box, but the winger was unable to keep his effort down.

Dimgba was again at the heart of the action in the 13th, finding space a well-worked corner routine to send a cross in. Ismaila Gata rose in the box, but could not divert the ball goalward. Okpako then went close, combining with midfield partner Ikechukwu Ibenegbu before unleashing a rasping drive from nigh on 35 yards which had Rangers goalkeeper Akpan Bassey scrambling.

An equaliser would however not materialise in the first half, but renewed intensity in the second saw Ibenegbu and Dimgba go close, before Rangers’ resistance was finally broken. Stephen Chukwude, on in place of Dimgba, took only four minutes to draw the game level, stealing in unmarked at the near post to glance home a corner kick by Mfon Udoh.

With 35 minutes still on the clock, it was all to play for. Chukwude again must have seen his name in lights as the ball broke to him inside the box after a poor clearance, but his effort flashed just wide. Udoh was next to go close, reacting quickest to a near post throw. The angle, however, was tight, and he could only watch his left-foot shot dribble along the goal line and go wide.

The captain went close twice more, first with an attempted chip inside the area, and then with a long-range effort that whizzed past Bassey’s right hand upright. Inevitably, his persistence was rewarded. In the 90th minute, a delicate through ball by Ibenegbu found Udoh free on the left, and his angled finish past the advancing Bassey nestled just inside the far upright to spark frenzied celebrations. 

Enyimba Starting XI: Theophilus Afelokhai, Ikouwem Udoh, Ifeanyi Anaemena, Samson Gbadebo, Dare Ojo, Solomon Okpako, Stanley Dimgba (Stephen Chukwude 51’), Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, Mfon Udoh(c), Ismaila Gata (Andrew Abalogu 60’), Mustapha Ibrahim (Chinedu Ohanachom 76’).

Referee: Ndubuisi Ukah

It’s an excellent post isnt it? Credit where it is due, the Enyimba media team is well and truly functional right now. Everyone agrees, yea? 

Back tomorrow, 

‘EnyimbaEnyi

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