Three first half goals from Austin Oladapo, Obi Samson and Stanley Dimgba propelled Champions Enyimba International to a comfortable 3-1 win over Akwa United on NPFL Matchday 3 at the Enyimba Stadium in Aba.

Mfon Udoh’s spectacular goal in the 39th minute was not enough to fetch the Promise Keepers any meaningful result as they slipped to their first defeat of the season and their 4th against the People’s Elephant in their last eight meetings in the league.

Both teams went into the game unbeaten from their opening two games. The hosts with one win and one draw, were on four points before kick-off, while the Promise keepers were on 2 points courtesy of 1-1 draw with Warri Wolves and a goalless draw at home against Abia Warriors, and were hoping to pick their first win of the season.

Goalkeepers Adewale Adeyinka and Theophilus Afelokhai were called into action inside the opening ten minutes. In the 4th minute, Obi Samson’s shot was comfortably saved by Adewale, and in the 10th minute, Afelokhai gathered Mfon Udoh’s curling free-kick after a foul on Christian Ekong.

Enyimba where awarded a controversial penalty in the 12th minute when the referee adjudged that Etim Mathew had handled the ball in the box. Austin Oladapo stepped up sent Adewale the wrong way to put his team in front.

Moments later, Sampson Gbadebo raced forward and freed Ifeanyi Ifeanyi but the midfielder was fouled before he could pull the trigger. Ifeanyi picked himself up but ballooned his effort.

The Promise Keepers bossed possession and could have had the equalizer in the 25th minute but Ocheme Edoh’s header from Kodjovi Dadzie’s pin-point cross was saved by Afelokhai.

Five minutes later it was the hosts that doubled their lead. Cyril Olisema’s defence splitting pass was met by Stanley Dimgba who beat the off-side trap before slotting home beyond Adewale. And three minute later, it was three nil in favour of the home side. Cyril Olisema again released Sampson Obi on the right and the winger fired a low shot past Adewale Adeyinka.

Six minutes before half time, Mfon Udoh reduced the deficit when he raced on to a long ball by Dare Ojo and calmly dinked it over Afelokhai into the back of the net for his second goal of the season.

The striker then missed a chance to score his team’s second in first half stoppage time when he fired wide after being put through by Dare Ojo.

The second half began with the Promise Keepers being the most adventurous. In the 62nd minute, Kodjovi Dadzie and Morice Chukwu combined to locate Mfon Udoh on the edge of Enyimba’s box. The striker kept his calm, turned but shot it straight into the hands of Afelokhai.

Coach John Obuh introduced Michael Ohanu, Aniekeme Asuquo and Emmanuel Charles into the game and the trio added bite to the attack. Eight minutes from time, Michael Ohanu dribbled past few defenders and delivered a brilliant pass to Aniekeme. The winger created a space for himself before firing at goal but his shot was blocked out for a corner kick.

Akwa United last chance to score fell to Ocheme Edoh two minutes from time, but the striker’s header went inches over the bar as Coach John Obuh’s men suffered their first defeat of the season, as Enyimba stretched their unbeaten run to three games in the 2019/2020 NPFL Season.

Speaking after the match, Head Coach of Akwa United John Obuh attributed his team’s defeat to mistakes.

“Enyimba were lucky today because we made many mistakes. We really didn’t take our chances. One important thing is that we have to do our best and work on our movement when we are not with the ball. We hope to correct those mistakes before our next game”.

Akwa United will next face Katsina United in Uyo on Wednesday afternoon at the Godswill Akpabio international stadium in a matchday 4 fixture.

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