Inside the 90′: Enyimba held by Akwa United

Three days after passing the Rivers United test in the CAF Confederation Cup Enyimba FC were back in action in a matchday 12 encounter in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) against neighbors Akwa United.

In a game of two halves at the Elephant Park in Aba, it was drama at the end when David Philip of Akwa United reacted quickest to lash home an equalizer cancelling Austin Oladapo’s lovely chip; honours even in regulation time (Enyimba 1-1 Akwa United), a fair end to an amazing contest.

However, behind the flicks and tricks, bursst of emotions, and late drama; we’ll delve into the abyss and analyse some major talking points from the 1-1 draw at the Enyimba Stadium.

Slow start

It is uncharacteristic of Enyimba FC not to get out of first gear in the opening period of games, it is indeed a rarity but it happened. Enyimba FC gifted Akwa United two big chances in the opening 10 minutes of the encounter; Charles Atshimene and Seth Mayi both saw their effort on goal thwarted by the onrushing goalkeeper John Noble.

Could it have possibly been the hangover from the CAF Confederation Cup tie or the three changes from last Sunday? Dare Olatunji, Tosin Omoyele, and Abiodun Adebayo were back in the starting line-up ahead of Anthony Omaka, Samad Kadiri, and Nabil Yarou in a similar 4-3-3 set-up.

Osho switches things

After a sloppy start to the game, Coach Fatai Osho was forced to mix things up to avoid an early implosion and offer some stability.

Centre-back Abiodun Adebayo who started at the right in the heart of defence was having a tough time to deal with runs and soon swapped places temporarily with Nelson Ogbonnaya who checked the runs from deep effectively.

In the second half, Enyimba seemed to have played with two defensive midfielders when Farouk Mohammed was introduced to shield the backline alongside Dare Olatunji. However, the introduction of Timothy Danladi for the injured Nelson Ogbonnaya paid dividends, as Akwa United’s incursion into the vital area began to dry up.

Eleven key combinations

There were eleven uninterrupted passes leading to Enyimba’s goal scored by the captain Austin Oladapo.

Not for the first time this season have we seen the People’s Elephant weave some lovely pattern on the field of play. Enyimba didn’t really get their passing game going on the day, and in one occasion which they did, they got their reward, one the manager would have been proud of.

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