Enyimba overcame a numerical handicap to edge Rivers United 1-0 in a rain-affected Confederation Cup fixture at the Enyimba Stadium on Sunday evening.
Cyril Olisema scored in the second half to settle the heated contest, halted shortly after kickoff by a heavy downpour in the Eastern Nigeria city.
With only eight minutes played, referee Mehdi Abid Charef decided that play be suspended after evaluating the effect of the downpour on ball movement
Action resumed forty-five minutes later with Imo Obot forcing Theophilus Afelokhai to parry out a long range freekick before the resultant corner was headed narrowly wide by Tosin Omoyele.
United created a chance of their own at the other end, Stephen Gopey and Godwin Aguda seeing their close range efforts cleared away, as the half wound down.
Oladapo again threatened with a long range freekick after the restart, before Sadiq Abubakar tore down the flank only to have his low cross well dealt with.
The defining period arrived just before the hour when Anayo Iwuala held off tackles to set up Olisema who held his nerves to beat Afelokhai at his near post.
Youngster Orok Gabriel came on for Sadiq Abubakar in Fatai Osho’s first switch, but it was not long after that Enyimba were cut to ten men as Tosin Omoyele was sent off for an off ball incident.
Enyimba, however managed their lead, ensuring that they approach the return fixture in a week’s time with a clean sheet.
FATAI OSHO’S POST MATCH COMMENTS
“It is okay for us bearing in mind that we had to play for sometime with a man short and at that time we were leading, it was quite important we protected that lead because if we don’t concede it’s also a plus for us. For the boys to show such resilience and even with that you could see us going on breaks to get more goals.
“It’s not really a bad result bearing in mind the standard of this Rivers United team. They have a formidable team and I believe strongly that after this two-legged affair both teams will gain a lot from this playing in the NPFL.
“We knew they would be coming for a war like that and they have what it takes to fight anybody, and we’re not disappointed with what they exhibited.
We knew we had to work so hard coming up against them and the players realised it. You can see what turned out on that pitch. This is really really good for the NPFL, to promote the NPFL. This is top class performance.”
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