Stanley Dimgba has installed himself as the central figure at Enyimba after his solitary strike helped the two-time CAF Champions League winners earn a 1-0 win over Nigerian champions Plateau United at the UJ Esuene Stadium on Wednesday.
The winger’s goal from the spot in a tight affair in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) match early in the first half.
Dimgba has now scored four goals in his last five matches for the People’s Elephant and those goals have helped Enyimba claim nine out of their 13 points.
Enyimba head coach Paul Aigbogun made five changes to his startlist that got a point at El-Kanemi Warriors last weekend. Ghanaian midfielder Farouk Mohammed, Nelson Ogbonnaya, Chinonso Okonkwo, Wasiu Alalade and Freedom Omofoman all started. Austin Oladapo who was part of Nigeria’s team at the 2018 CHAN was named on the bench.
Surprisingly Plateau United manager Kennedy Boboye opted to leave out his impressive new-signing Tosin Omoyele who started from the bench. Instead he preferred to three centre halves and two wing backs while the like of Elisha Golbe, Peter Eneji and Amos Gyang were listed as substitutes.
The People’s Elephant started on the front foot and from an unusual source came their first scoring chance. Centre-back Ifeanyi Anaemena bombed forward after two minutes but had his attempt saved by Plateau United goalkeeper Okiemute Odah though it would not have counted as the flag was raised for offside positioning.
It was Omofoman’s turn to threaten the defence of the title holders. The former Warri Wolves man could only produce a weak finish as Odah gathered with ease.
Enyimba then got a spot kick after Emma James handled the ball in his box and left referee Wale Adeniyi with no option than to point to the spot. Dimgba dispatched the penalty expertly on 11 minutes for his fourth goal of the season.
Tackles did fly about in the game which threatened to assume a physical dimension but Plateau United had decent spells and rare moments from attempts by Raphael Ayagwa and Emeka Umeh while Dimgba’s effort from point blank range to double Enyimba’s lead was foiled by Odah.
Plateau United were not ready to lose without a fight as Joshua Obaje rifled his effort over before Sunday Ingbede had his goal ruled out by assistant referee Cletus Adewebi’s flag for offside after nine minutes.
Sensing the game was slipping out of their hands, Boboye introduced his leading scorer Omoyele whose only attempt was a left-footed effort that went wide. The last action of the match led to Salomon Junior being sent off for an off-the-ball incident against Anaemena.
Enyimba have now moved within three points of table-topping Akwa United after increasing their tally to 13 points after eight games.
Enyimba: Fatau Dauda, Benjamin Francis, Ifeanyi Anaemena, Nelson Ogbonnaya, Uche John (Dare Ojo 42′), Farouk Mohammed, Franco Atchou (Abdulrahman Bashir 81′), Stanley Dimgba, Freedom Omofoman (Austin Oladapo 59′), Wasiu Alalade, Chinonso Okonkwo
Unused subs: Friday Achimugwu, Ernest Governor, Stephen Chukwude, Chinedu Udeagha
Goal: Stanley Dimgba 11′ (Enyimba)
Yellow cards: Uche John, Wasiu Alalade (Enyimba)
Plateau United: Okiemute Odah, Hamisu Saleh, Emma James, Jimmy Ambrose, Salomon Junior, Ogene Elijah, Joshua Obaje (Tosin Omoyele 61′), Bitrus Wash, Emeka Umeh, Raphael Ayagwa (Mafeng Fam 70′), Sunday Ngbede (Peter Eneji 72′)
Unused subs: John Gaadi, Chizoba Amaefule, Elisha Golbe, Amos Gyang.
Yellow cards: Joshua Obaje, Emeka Umeh
Red card: Salomon Junior
© The Predictor