Enyimba failed to make it back to back wins as Abia Warriors triumphed 2-1 at the Okigwe Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Pascal Eze scored late in the first half to reduce Warriors advantage following two quick goals from Ahmed Yakub and Valentine Odoh, but the People’s Elephant fell short of completing a comeback in a second half full of events but lacking in goals.
Early chances fell to both sides in a game that carried the feistiness of a true derby, with Godwin Obaje wasting a free header for Warriors in the opening minutes before Abel James headed an Enyimba corner over the top.
Warriors got in the lead in the 31st minute when Nweke Kalu intercepted Enyimba’s faulty build up from the back for Odoh to set up Yakub who sent a well-hit strike into Olorunleke Ojo’s top left.
Odoh doubled the lead six minutes later, taking advantage of another defensive lapse to latch on Innocent Gabriel’s through pass and lob into the far post.
Pascal Eze tapped in from Orok Gabriel’s corner in first half added time to resuscitate the fading hope of the visitors, and Finidi George poured all out at the restart with the injections of Emeka Obioma and Ekene Awazie.
Obioma shot at Vincent Edafe from a tight angle inside the box before seeing his chipped effort land on the crossbar as Enyimba laboured in vain for a leveller.
In the end, the People’s Elephant were left to rue two first half blunders that were well-punished by the hosts.