10-man Plateau United pummel Enyimba in Jos to maintain top spot
By Wale Mustapha
Plateau United on Sunday returned back to winning ways in dramatic fashion with a commanding 4-0 thumping of defending champions, Enyimba on Matchday 12 of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) played in Jos.
Abba Umar scored two second half goals for the Tin City club after Uche Onwuasoanya and Ibrahim Mustapha had scored earlier to put Plateau in the driving seat.
Match captain, Daniel Itodo was sent off six minutes before full time after receiving his second booking in the match but could not stop the hosts from capping up their win with a clean sheet.
The result has also helped Plateau to retain their top spot on the log.
Enyimba’s intent to live up to prematch expectation as they created the first attempt inside the second minute when former Plateau player, Reuben Bala shot straight at Chinedu Anozie after collecting a through pass from Abdulrahman Bashir.
Plateau United responded in the seventh minute when they attacked in numbers. Ochowechi Oche’s low drive from edge of the box forced Stanley Nwabali to a smart save.
The defence of both sides were put to test moments later when Bashir was denied by Andrew Ikefe to give Enyimba the lead while Austin Opara cleared the line for the People’s Elephant a from Plateau’s Onwuasoanya.
The hosts soon gained complete control of the game with series of onslaughts and almost got the curtain raiser in the 23rd minute but Nwabali made two quick saves as he stopped both Mustapha and Onwuasoanya’s close range efforts.
The hosts’ pressure soon paid off in the 38th minute as Enyimba’s defence could not deal with Ibrahim Abubakar Babawo’s cross and allowed Onwuasoanya to nod home to the bottom corner.
The defending champions could have equalized with two minutes to end the first stanza but Victor Mbaoma arrived late to connect with Bashir’s delivery.
The second half was one-sided as the visitors looked consumed by the biting cold weather in Jos.
Plateau United seized the moments and punished them by scoring three goals within 13 minutes in the second half.
Former Enyimba forward Mustapha broke out from the crowd and headed Babawo’s delivery to the far corner to double the lead for the hosts with a minute before the hour mark.
Abba Umar would then add more woes for the visitors as he came between a pass from Adebayo to Nwabali and slot home Plateau’s third.
Umar wrapped things up for Abdu Maikaba’s side with a class act finish from Babawo’s through pass to inflict a heavy league defeat on Enyimba.
Enyimba tried to get a consolation goal with a late surge from Bashir, Dayo Ojo and substitute Anayo Iwuala but Plateau had intention of ending the wonderful day with a clean sheet. The Aba Elephants could not even use the numerical strength after Itodo had been sent off for his second bookable offence.
Coach of Plateau United Abdu Maikaba told npfl.ng after the match that he was impressed with his boys adding that he envisaged the scoreline due to how his side prepared for the match.
“I knew we would get more goals today going by what my boys did in the build up to this match.
“We resolved to respond quickly to last week’s result (Plateau lost 3-0 to Abia Warriors) and I’m happy it ended this way, I thank them for the performance and the result.”
Maikaba’s counterpart from Enyimba, Usman Abd’Allah admitted that his side were second best throughout the match adding that the Jos weather led to their let off in the second half assuring to work on their shortcomings ahead of next game.
Plateau United who still hold firmly to top spot with 24 points from 12 matches will next face Katsina United at Muhammadu Dikko Stadium on Wednesday.