Enyimba withstood a numerical disadvantage and late pressure to earn a 2-1 win against Nasarawa United at the Lafia City Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Anthony Omaka was sent off just after the hour as Fatai Osho’s side showed tenacity to walk away with three points in a fiery contest in Lafia.
Nabil Yarou, making his first start in five matches, produced a big moment in the fourteenth minute as he responded quickly to clear a goal-bound cross of the line as the hosts threw first punch.
Enyimba however took the lead moments later when Tosin Omoyele skillfully held play in the opponents’ box before having his eventual cut back turned into the net by Nasarawa defender Abdullahi Abubakar; but it took the hosts only four minutes to respond to going behind as Chinedu Ohanachom headed in Haggai Katoh’s freekick from the right to draw level.
The parity did not last too long though, as the referee pointed to the spot when Enyimba’s wing wizard, Anayo Iwuala, was fouled in the box as he dribbled between opponents. Cyril Olisema kept cool nerves to fire into the roof of the net for his second goal in an Enyimba shirt.
Enyimba had two identical chances to score another before the interval – Omoyele releasing Olisema to face the keeper, but the midfielder’s audacious chip went just over the top; before a similar scenario in added time had Olisema round the keeper but his cutback was cleared by the returning backline.
Orok Gabriel came close after the restart, controlling before shooting high in the box while Ohanachom threatened with a dangerous low curler at the other end.
Enyimba were made to play the last half-hour with ten men as midfielder Tony Omaka was shown a straight red for an off-ball confrontation with Ohanachom, forcing Fatai Osho to bring on Abiodun Adebayo for the impressive Orok.
Anayo continued to author many troubles in spite of his team’s disadvantage and was narrowly denied by Danlami Umar’s brilliant goalkeeping, before John Noble made a double save from point blank range to preserve Enyimba’s lead in a tensed finale.
Enyimba have now won four of the last five, a form that shoots the league champions to top of the log with eighteen points.