Bashir’s header helps Enyimba see off Lobi Stars

By Promise Etim

Abdulrahman Bashir’s second half header helped seven-time champions Enyimba overcome a difficult Lobi Stars of Makurdi in a rescheduled Matchday 21 fixture played at the UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar on Wednesday.

Enyimba, who knew a win against the league leaders, may see them leap to 6th position on the log, listed NPFL record goalscorer in their matchday squad, for the first time since star of the campaign. The striker last featured for the People’s Elephant against MFM FC on Matchday 35 of last season.

The visitors left Cletus Itodo and Ayo Saka on the bench, but handed start to David Tyavkase. The trio previously had stint with the two-time African champions (Enyimba).

Enyimba should have been up just after the quarter hour mark, but new signing, Jean-Marie Guera could only see his goal-bound effort cleared off the line. Abdulrahman Bashir failed to capitalize on a fast Enyimba move, when he skinned Joseph Osadiaye’s cross, inches wide from six yards on 20 minutes.

Olufemi Kayode had an outstanding opening half, but his intervention in the half hour mark was very key, as he rushed off his line to halt a quick Enyimba move, injurying his ankle in the process. But the goalkeeper returned to keep out Osadiaye’s freekick on 43 minutes.

Ekene Olisema ensured his side ended the half with some hope of leaving Calabar with at least a point, when he cleared Ibrahim Mustapha’s effort off the line in added time. There was still some drama before the break, as coach of the visiting side, Solomon Ogbeide was sent to the stands for dissent.

Lobi had a fair share of ill-luck, when Anthony Okpotu’s header came against the woodwork in the 49th minute.

Bashir would wait no further to ensure Enyimba were in front, as beat the offside trap, to head Andrew Abalogu’s cross beyond Olufemi Kayode on 51 minutes.

Hope Fiberesima could have drew Lobi level in the 66th minute, but his header hit the woodwork from Tyavkase’s corner, after Theophilus Afelokhai and Enyimba defence were beaten.

Twelve minutes from time, Afelokhai denied Ezekiel Mba from grabbing the equalizer, as he stood firm to block the striker’s low drive, ten yards out, to earn Enyimba a win, which elevates the Aba side to sixth place on the log, with a game to spare.

Teams

Enyimba: Theophilus Afelokhai; Andrew Abalogu, Ikouwem Udoh, Ernest Governor, Isiaka Oladuntoye, Uche John, Maxwell Effiom, Abdulrahman Bashir, Ibrahim Mustapha, Jean-Marie Guera, Joseph Osadiaye

Lobi Stars: Olufemi Kayode; Solomon Kwambe, Zango Umar, Hope Fiberesima, Ebube Duru, Ekene Olisema, Oladapo Olufemi, Ogunye Austin, Okpotu Anthony, Tyavkase David, Mbah Ezekiel

Match Stats
Enyimba 1-0 Lobi Stars
Shots 10-5
On Target 5-3
Corners 7-4
Fouls 19-19
Yellow 1-2
Red 0-0
Offside 3-2
Saves 3-4