Nigeria Professional Football League
FC IFEANYI UBAH 1-0 ENYIMBA INTL FC
Isaac Loute 3’
Ifeanyi Ubah Intl Stadium, Nnewi
#IFEENY #NPFL #OrientalDerby
FC Ifeanyi Ubah edged closer to securing a continental spot for next season after defeating Enyimba FC 1-0 on Sunday at the FC Ifeanyi Ubah Stadium, Nnewi courtesy of an Isaac Loute 1st half goal.
The goal was scored in the 3rd minute of the match after the Enyimba defense failed to properly clear an Alberico Da Silva free kick. Isaac Loute who was placed at the right place at the right time, pounced on the rebound, perfectly placed his shot into the bottom left hand corner to score what proved to be the match winner.
Going into the match, Head Coach Rafael Everton made three changes to the side that lost to Lobi Stars last time out, Kojo Baah and Tamen Medrano were suspended for the Oriental Derby after accumulating 5 yellow cards each, hence Bright Onyedikachi and Isaac Loute were brought into the match. Seka Pascal was also absent through injury, Ismaila Gata was drafted in to take the Ivorian’s place.
The match itself started in a high pace as the Anambra Warriors attacked from the very start of the match, moving the ball quickly and created the first chance of the match as Jimoh Oni shot from long range but his effort was off target.
Coach Rafael decided to push Alberico Da Silva deeper into the midfield for this match and that decision proved to be a master stroke as the Brazilian was a torn to the flesh of the Enyimba defense throughout the match as he kept winning his duels in midfield, and holding possession when necessary. This was by a country mile his best performance so far for the Anambra Warriors and the Brazilian has proved beyond every doubt that he is one of the finest midfielders in the division.
Alberico was fully involved in the lone goal of the match as his free kick was poorly cleared by the Enyimba defense with the rebound falling to the Benin International Isaac Loute who made no mistake in scoring.
After the goal, Enyimba responded positively by mounting pressure on the FCIU defense which resulted to them wining a free kick just outside the box in the 6th minute. Christian Pygbara took the free kick but it was well saved by Ikechukwu Ezenwa.
The Anambra Warriors scaled through the stint of possession from Enyimba and started dominating possession once again with the midfield partnership of Alberico Da Silva, Ngoma Luamba and Jimoh Oni proved to be a hand full for the Enyimba midfield, depriving them of the ball and expertly breaking play whenever Enyimba were in possession or trying to start an attack. Ngoma Luamba in particular make interceptions in the middle of the park while Alberico Da Silva kept keeping possession when necessary and relayed the ball expertly from defense to attack.
However, the midfield was caught off guard midway through the 1st half when former FCIU striker, Chukwude Stephen was put through on goal, however his effort was deflected into a corner kick by Adeleye Olamilekan who once again had a flawless game, never hesitating to make timely interceptions and expertly controlling the defense line.
The was little or no clear cut chance as but teams observed each other like a game of chance but in the 35th minute, FCIU winger Bright Onyedikachi attempted a spectacular long range lob as Enyimba fc keeper Moses Ocheje was out of his line. Unfortunately for Bright his effort narrowly went wide to the disappointment of the fans, who taught the ball was in the back of the net.
This was the last meaningful chance of the 1st half as the Anambra Warriors went into the break, one goal up.
The 2nd half started just like the 1st half with FCIU the fastest to come out of the blog and Alberico Da Silva at the top of his game, the Brazilian dazzled pass the Enyimba players causing them to continually foul him. In the 48th minute Alberico Da Silva delivered an inch perfect cross into the box which was met perfectly by Gata Adeshina, Unfortunately Gata’s header narrowly missed the target to the disappointment of the striker and the fans. Gata in all had a good game with the striker constantly droping into the midfield to help out the midfielders, and also holding the ball upfront when necessary while waiting for his teammates to come up front. Hopefully next season, he will deliver the goods as he would have settled down in the team.
Gata’s partnership with Alakwe Chijioke didn’t go unnoticed, even though it didn’t yield a goal, but the understand and body movements of both players was good and might be worth trying in the future. Alakwe on his part nearly doubled the lead in the 58th minute when his headed nearly found itself into the back of the net if not for the timely intervention of Enyimba keeper, Moses Ocheje.
There was to be some bad news in the match as FCIU and Nigeria keeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa went to the floor injured, causing the medical team to come to his attention. Ezenwa was unable to shake off the injury and was substituted in the 70th minute. Uche Okafor took his place.
This was followed by a period of tempo regulation by the Anambra Warriors who tried to slow down the tempo of the game and see off the match. Alberico Da Silva held possession greatly and expertly dribbled pass Enyimba players drawing fouls to the delight of the home fans.
Alberico Da Silva who was definitely the man of the match earned himself the last action of the match, when his free kick in the 86th minute narrowly went wide.
In the end it ended 1-0 for the Anambra Warriors. A win that returns FCIU into the top 3 of the NPFL table needing just a point to secure a continental ticket for next season.
Sunday’s win also ensured that the Anambra Warriors will end the season with an unbeaten home record.
Am very happy with this win, Enyimba were champions last season and am very happy to get a win over them. More so, this win has improved our chances of getting a continental ticket.
Am happy that we are playing like a team, remember we had three players that were out of this game but we came together as a group and still got the result which is all that matters.
We have been in this type of situation, we know that in such game, very little things decide the match. Once we went ahead we held on to the win and we are very happy. As for our next game against MFM, its going to be a very tough one but we will do our very best to take all three points.
We want to say a big thank you to all our fans who have been awesome throughout the season. The support we have received since the start of the season has been massive. They deserve this win and we will try our best to give them a continental ticket.