Enyimba face “a big battle” against Lobi Stars to keep alive their title ambitions at the 2018/2019 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Championship Playoffs, Usman Abd’Allah, Enyimba’s head coach has said.
The two sides both have a win and a loss to their names after two rounds of matches in the six-team post-season playoffs and clash later today at the Agege Stadium.
After opening their post-season campaign with a win, the Peoples Elephant fell to a 2-0 defeat to Kano Pillars in their second match which had to be completed on Friday after rain forced a halt to proceedings with two minutes left in the first half on Thursday.
Following that loss which leaves Enyimba on three points, level with Lobi Stars and Enugu Rangers and a point behind the duo of Kano Pillars and Akwa United, Abd’Allah says the Peoples Elephant must start to put some daylight between themselves and the rest, starting with today’s match against Lobi Stars.
“[Lobi Stars] are also in the same situation we are in with Rangers and that is why it is going to be a big battle because everybody is looking for [a] win to go on top so we have to see how the game goes. We are going to take it seriously; all the players understand the situation that we are in so it’s not going to be a big problem. The only thing is just to calm down to keep concentration and keep focus and go back and give the same good performance.”
Reacting to his team’s 2-0 loss to Kano Pillars, Abd’Allah said his side missed an opportunity to move top of the log and blamed the loss on the profligacy of his side for whom Ifeanyi Anaemena missed a 61st penalty that would have given them the lead.
He, however, said that Enyimba, who are only just a point away from the top of the log, are still very much in contention at the playoffs as they still have three matches left to play to make “an impact”.
“We had a lot of chances in that match, and we got a penalty, we lost and we had two, three clear chances and we kept on just squandering the chances and they took their chances,” Abd’Allah said.
“I think overall it wasn’t our day, so, that’s football, hopes are not lost at all because the leading team is on four points and they are only one point ahead of us and we have three more matches to finish so there is no team that have got six points straight. We could have got our opportunity of getting that but we didn’t but all the same we still have a good chance of making an impact in this competition. We are still chasing.”
Enyimba take on Lobi Stars by 5 pm in Saturday’s second match at the Agege Township Stadium. Kano Pillars and FC Ifeanyiubah take to the field by 3 pm in the day’s first kick off while Akwa United battle Rangers in the final game which kicks off by 7 pm.