Enyimba surrendered a first half lead and essentially blew the chance to move within touching distance of qualification for the playoffs of the Nigeria Professional Football League with a 1-1 draw against Wikki Tourists at the Enyimba Stadium on Sunday evening.
The People’s Elephant seemed to be on course for an easy win when Ifeanyi Anaemena netted from the spot with only thirteen minutes played, and created numerous chance in the first half, but it proved to be all flattery as Promise Damala’s finish on the hour left the former champions to settle for a point.
After an unsteady start to the game, the home team were awarded a penalty when Amiru Maidawa’s attempted clearance in the box came off his own arm, and Anaemena converted coolly, taking his tally to five this season.
Enyimba grew dominant from then on and created chances with ease against their, sometimes brittle, opponents but found their finishing touches sorely below par.
Zenke and Abdulrahaman combined dangerously through the flanks, one of which resulted to a fine strike on the turn by the latter, which went narrowly off the mark.
Stanley Dimgba also had an opportunity with a daring run through the middle, but the forward held on the ball a little too long and ended in a cluster of Wikki defenders, when Abdulrahaman had positioned himself better to score.
With five minutes to the end of the half, the visitors tried to push forward, but Nelson Ogbonnaya’s ball to Abdulrahaman quickly turned defence to attack for Enyimba, and the forward held on to play in the onrushing Guera, who blasted straight at the keeper, before hitting the rebound over.
Quickly at the other end, the visitors broke through the left and could have levelled with Manu Garba’s bicycle kick that went slightly wide of Fatal Dauda’s right.
Usman Abd’Allah made two changes few minutes into the restart as he injected Dare Olatunji for the uncharacteristically lethargic Farouk Mohammed, before Andrew Abalogu limped off with a knock minutes later and was replaced by Stanley Okorom.
On the hour mark, Abdulrahaman was molested off the ball on the line of the box, and was awarded a free kick in the most lethal of positions but Anaemena shot sloppily into the wall and Wikki punished the hosts for such profligacy.
Williams Manji picked the clearance and made a dashing run on the left, before locating Damala who fired into Dauda’s far left.
The visitors came close to scoring another goal in similar fashion, Manji again breaking through on the left, but his cross this time went too close to Dauda.
Reuben Bala was sent on for Zenke in a final push as the hosts sustained the pressure in search for a winner, but tenacious defending from Kabiru Zubairu’s men ensured that the visitors held on for a crucial point.