Enyimba records first away win, beats Kano Pillars 2-1
Many followers of the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) have already written defending champions, Enyimba, out of contention for this year’s title, but the Peoples Elephant sent shockwaves across the country yesterday when they beat 2014 winners, Kano Pillars, 2-1, at the Sani Abacha Stadium.
Enyimba’s first away win and against the second placed team in the league has already jolted pundits into rearranging their predictions for the season.
Kano Pillars lost their first home game at the Sani Abacha Stadium after 12 years last year, but the team have been playing the type of style that gave them four consecutive NPFL titles before they met Enyimba yesterday.
The Enyimba side, which could only manage two consecutive home draws against Heartland and Lobi Stars, went into the game determined to change their fortune. But they were shocked by a 20th minute free kick by Rabiu Ali, which beat Theophilus Afelokhai to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
Pillars almost doubled their lead in the 36th minute, but Afelokhai, who joined Enyimba from the Kano team at the beginning of the season, saved Ifeanyi Matthew’s effort from close range.
He also stopped Ali from adding to his tally shortly before the interval.
The second half saw a different Enyimba, who got the leveler through
Nzube Anaezemba in the 51st minute, before former Heartland captain, Ike Thankgod, stunned the home crowd with the winner in the 82nd minute.
Kano Pillars tried to avoid the defeat in the dying minutes when they threw everything at the visitors, but tried as they could, substitute goalkeeper, Femi Thomas, did not give them room to share from the spoils.
The win takes Enyimba from the 18th to the 15th position on the NPFL table with 17 points from 11 matches, while Pillars maintain their second spot with 24 points from 14 matches.