Former champions, Enyimba FC narrowed the gap between them and Rangers International FC of Enugu to just three points yesterday when the Flying Antelopes were brought down to earth in a 3-1 defeat in a Nigeria Professional Football League Oriental Derby played in Aba.
Defender Ifeanyi Anaemena scored two headers in the derby Aba fans thoroughly enjoyed with relish.
In between Anaemena’s headers which were the first and last goals of the game, Jean-Marie Guera doubled Enyimba’s lead in the 18th minute while Godwin Aguda halved the deficit for Rangers four minutes into the second half. Anaemena’s second in the 60th minute was timely as it ensured that the People’s Elephant inflict a priceless defeat on their table-topping opponents, their third in consecutive games while reducing the gap between both teams to three points.
At the Agege Stadium, Rivers United came unstuck in Lagos as an early Chijioke Akuneto penalty handed MFM FC a 1-0 victory. Rivers United dominated the clash but failed to translate their superiority to goals.
The hosts started briskly and were awarded a penalty in the third minute. Akuneto stepped up and fired low and hard into the bottom corner to give the the hosts the lead.
The visitors then took over, dominating the rest of the half and indeed, the game but failed to convert their chances at the opportune moments.
Head coach of MFM, Fidelis Ilechukwu conceded that the visitors had the better chances and probably deserved more than they got on the day.
“Rivers United is a fantastic side. It’s all about converting chances.
“The only problem they had today was about their strikers putting the ball in the back of the net.
“But talking about the quality (that they possess), they are a perfect team,” Ilechukwu said.
Rivers United dropped to seventh place on the log, following Sunday’s defeat in Lagos, with a total of 23 points from 17 games while MFM moved up to third on the log with 27 points from 17 games.
Rivers United will next face Enyimba in Port Harcourt in their next league game on Wednesday, May 8.
The story was also a sweet one for the host in Katsina. Katsina United survived a second half blitz by Remo Stars to win 3-2 at the Muhammad Dikko Stadium.
The win takes the Changi Boys to fifth on the Group A log, three points below third-placed MFM leaving them with an outside chance of nicking one of the playoff spots.
But the Abdullahi Biffo-tutored Katsina endured a nervy end to secure maximum points.
After dominating proceedings in the first half, they switched off in the second as the visitors had a field day.