Farouk Mohammed came off the bench to score a late winner as Enyimba held on to the very end to squeeze out a 3-2 win against hard to crack Nasarawa United on Saturday.
Although concerns over the unavailability of topscorer Victor Mbaoma seized the previews of the game, the People’s Elephant dispelled such goalscoring worries, firing three past their hard-fighting opponents in a gritty contest.
Enyimba had put their noses in front twice in the game, but the unrelenting Nasarawa United twice cancelled those leads, and it looked like the visitors would run away with a point when Godwin Ameh held Austin Oladapo’s penalty with only nine minutes left, but Farouk smashed another spot kick into the far right in the latter stages to seal a vital win the race for continental places.
Samuel Stone opened the scoring at the end of a well-contested first half, scraping in a rebound after Emeka Obioma’s strike was repelled by the keeper.
The lead did not last long, though, as the visitors drew level three minutes into the restart when Sunday Okereke reacted well to a freekick to guide the ball home.
It took Enyimba only three minutes to get back in front, Emeka Obioma finishing of a fine team move after being set up by Sadiq Abubakar. But the visitors had more in their tank, drawing level for the second time with only eleven minutes left, Michael Tochukwu converting from the spot after Farouk Mohammed brought down Aliyu Abdullahi in the box.
The hosts were awarded a penalty of their own four minutes later when Sadiq Abubakar was hacked in the box. Austin Oladapo, however, had his kick saved by the impressive Godwin Ameh.
The game continued to follow its dramatic plot as substitute Christian Ekong won another penalty for the hosts, and Farouk Mohammed took no chances as he a smashed it into the right corner to secure maximum points and sustain Enyimba’s top three push.