Enyimba International have ended Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries football club, MFM, winning streak at home after a controversial 1-1 draw in Agege on Sunday.
A superb volley from Bashir Abdulrahaman gave Enyimba a 1-0 lead three minutes into the second half, before it took another excellent effort to produce the next goal in the match, this time from the hosts, who grabbed the leveler.
Akuneto Chijioke’s wonderful low drive from just outside the visitors’ box earned MFM a much deserved equaliser, ten minutes after going a goal behind.
MFM had won six of their matches at home this season, but on a very hot day in Agege, they were denied two penalties, one in the first half and another in stoppage time as they shared the spoils with Enyimba.
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“After the hard work, it is painful, ” a disappointed Fidelis Ilechukwu said moments after the game.
“Let’s play football. It has happened before, it’s not the first, second or even third time. It’s a shame.”
The match, which was between the first and second teams in Group A, started in a rather disappointing manner with both sides failing to test both goalkeepers in the opening half.
Only a penalty appeal waved aside by the referee, after Akuneto was hacked down in the Enyimba box, from the hosts in the first half provided the best moment in a very dull first 45 minutes.
It ended goalless at the break with neither side having done enough to really break the deadlock.
However, three minutes after the restart, there was a breakthrough as the People’s Elephant got their noses in front thanks to a brilliant Abdulrahaman volley from inside the box off a throw-in.
That goal changed the game and appeared to wake up the home side, who began to pile on the pressure in search of the equaliser.
Ten minutes after going behind, their pressure finally paid off when Akuneto’s effort from range evaded a sea of legs into the bottom left corner to draw MFM level.
The Olukoya Boys seemed rejuvented after that goal and went in search for the winner, pegging Enyimba back in their own half with a barrage of attacks.
The Aba side soaked up all the pressure with ease until two minutes into stoppage time when a shot from an MFM corner appeared to come off the hand of an Enyimba defender inside his own box.
Like in the first half, the referee once again ignored their appeals and waved play on, before finally calling an end to the game.
The result means MFM lose their winning streak at home but remain top on 23 points, while Enyimba retain their second spot on 20 points.
Speaking after the game, a satisfied Enyimba coach, Usman Abd’Allah (L), had this to say;
“We came here to confirm our superiority over them [MFM], ” he said.
“I didn’t come to play for a draw, i came to win. But as i said, if we don’t get the three points, i am ready to settle with a draw. So, i am very happy with the result.”
On the penalty incident, Abd’Allah added;
“It was a high tension match, and as you can see. You give the referee credit. I think the officiating was okay, most times the teams playing [at] home always complain, it is normal- we also complain when we are playing at home.”
“So, sometimes you give credit to the referees, they are doing a good job.”
Up next for MFM, they are on the road as they on Kwara United in Ilorin while Enyimba host NPFL newbies, Bendel Insurance in Aba on April 7.