Enyimba paid the price for goalmouth profligacy as Kazeem Ogunleye’s late strike levelled scores and denied the People’s Elephant a win against Rangers International at the Enyimba Stadium on Wednesday.
Chijioke Mbaoma had given the People’s Elephant the lead in the twelfth minute when he headed Chidiebere Nnachi’s deflected cross past the keeper to ignite a thoroughly explosive meeting of the two most successful clubs in Nigeria; but the hosts turned inexplicably wastefully afterwards, squandering begging opportunities to nail their opponents in the first half.
Mbaoma’s header from Uwana Asuquo’s characteristic long throw was tipped over by Detan Ogundare, while Joseph Atule fired straight at the keeper from five yards after connecting to Daniel Daga’s low cross.
Murphy Ndukwu and Chidiebere Nnachi also had chances to score as Finidi George’s side swallowed up their opponents in an overwhelming first half display of high intensity.
The tide turned around in the second half, though, as Chidiebere Nwobodo ran through the Enyimba backline just after the restart, only to be denied by Olorunleke Ojo.
Imo Obot, Elijah Akanni and George Owen were thrown in to stem the tide of Rangers’ threatening incursions – a job that looked almost done until three minutes to the end when Kazeem Ogunleye curled in a beautiful left-footed drive to leave the hosts to rue lost chances.
The visitors could have won it late in added time but Ojo spread himself expertly to deny Auwalu Naziru in a one-on-one situation.