Enyimba bounced back from the disappointing defeat at Heartland in midweek to score a convincing win over Kano Pillars in Aba on matchday 5 and move up to 5th in the 2020-21 Nigeria Professional Football League table.
Anayo Iwuala put the Aba Elephants ahead in the 21st minute, Pillars nearly fashioned an immediate response but Ebuka David could only fire wide when clean through from Rabiu Ali’s pass.
The home side wasted little time in extending their lead as Gabriel Orok scored from Dayo Ojo’s to give them a 2-0 lead at the break.
The visitors made three changes at the break as they sought a way back into the game with Rabiu Ali, Chinedu Ike and David Ebuka replaced by Bright Silas, Munkaila Musa and Abbas Rabiu.
The move paid off as Fahad Usman curled home a brilliant free kick for Pillars to set up a grandstand finish but Fatai Osho’s men held on to claim all three points to send Pillars down to 6th on the log.
Elsewhere, leaders Rivers United maintained their grip at the top with a routine win over struggling Heartland in Port Harcourt.
The 18th placed Naze Millionaires seemed to have turned the corner after stemming a rub of three consecutive defeats with victory over Enyimba last time out, but they were brought crashing down to earth by the hosts who made easy pickings of their efforts on Sunday.
Godwin Aguda got things rolling from the spot before Kazie Enyinanya doubled their lead after the break.
Samuel Nnoshiri seemed to have given Heartland a way back after he scored twelve minutes from time but Michael Ohawume struck four minutes from the end to wrap up the win for Stanley Eguma’s side.
In Lagos, MFM midfielder Muyiwa Balogun cancelled out Ugochukwu Ugwuoke’s opener for Rangers to ensure a share of the spoils at the Agege Stadium while Sadeeq Yusuf’s last gasp goal ensure Sunshine Stars saw off Warri Wolves in Akure.
Uzochukwu Chigozie’s winner just after half time secured all three points for 2nd placed Nasarawa United against Katsina United while Austin Ogunye’s penalty in added time helped Lobi Stars see off Dakkada FC in Makurdi.
Samuel Mathias put Lobi ahead after fifteen minutes but the visitors levelled through Christian Ekong in the 70th minute and with a draw looking likely, Lobi striker Chinonzo Okonkwo was brought down by Olawale Doyeni in the box with Ogunye dispatching the resultant penalty kick.
Meanwhile, Abia Warriors boss Imama Amapakabo bought some breathing room after his side picked up their first point of the season with a draw at FC Ifeanyiubah.
After losing all four opening games, Amapakabo was issued a three game ultimatum to turn the bottom side’s season around or face the sack and the former Rangers boss must have felt his fortunes were on the up after Christian Samuel put his side ahead after only nine minutes.
Abia Warriors’ hopes of a first win this campaign were dashed, however, after Christian Molokwu equalised in the 76th minute and the visitors’ woes deepened late on as goalscorer Christian Samuel was sent off late on for a second booking.
Plateau United picked up just their second win of the season with a 3-0 rinsing of second from bottom Adamawa United in Jos.
Amos Gyang opened the floodgates from the spot in the first half and two quick fire goals in the 89th and 90th minutes from Kingsley Innocent and Wasiu Jimoh completed the rout for the home side.
And it ended all square between Jigawa Golden Stars and Kwara United in the day’s only goalless fixture.
NPFL MD 5 Results
Enyimba 2-1 Kano Pillars (Anayo Iwuala 21’, Gabriel Orok 38’ – Fahad Usman 86’)
Jigawa Golden Stars 0-0 Kwara United
MFM 1-1 Rangers (Muyiwa Balogun 29’ – Ugochukwu Ugwuoke 23’)
Rivers United 3-1 Heartland (Godwin Aguda 18’ (PEN), Kazie Enyinanya 65’, Malachi Ohawume 86’ – Shedrack Oghali 78’)
Lobi Stars 2-1 Dakkada (Samuel Mathias 15’, Austin Ogunye 90’ (PEN) – Christian Ekong 70’)
Sunshine Stars 1-0 Wolves (Sadeeq Yusuf 90’)
FC Ifeanyiubah 1-1 Abia Warriors (Christian Molokwu 76’ – Christian Samuel 9’)
Nasarawa United 1-0 Katsina United (Chigozie Uzochukwu 49’)
Plateau United 3-0 Adamawa United (Amos Gyang 45′ (PEN), Kingsley Innocent 89′, Wasiu Jimoh 90′)