Utibe Arit’s late winner condemned Enyimba to a second defeat of the season as the succumbed to a 2-1 loss to Dakkada FC in the Nigeria Professional Football League.
In a dramatic final quarter hour at the God’swill Akpabio International Stadium, the substitute got his first from a rebound, but Victor Mbaoma seemed to have secured a point for Enyimba when he equalised with four minutes left, until Arit turned the game around with a 93rd minute winner for Dakkada.
It was the first ever league meeting between both sides, and Olufemi Kayode, making his first domestic appearance for Enyimba, was forced into a save in the seventh minute when a cross from the right strayed goal-ward. Moses Effiong fired the eventual rebound over the top. The hosts came close again four minutes later when Isaac George was caught offside in a one-on-one with Kayode.
Enyimba gradually stepped into the game with youngster, Orok Gabriel – who was making a second league start in four days, central to most attacking moves. The winger slid through four markers with a tricky run but his ball roll out of play; before embarking on another solo run from his half and drawing a safe from Vincent Edafe five minutes later.
Emmanuel Ampiah was the first to be shown a yellow in the half, and was joined in the referee’s book by Harrison Ibukun and Eso Archibong, but nothing separated but sides at the interval.
Austin Opara denied Dakkada an opener ten minutes after the restart with a vital clearance after Kayode was clearly beaten by Osimaga Duke’s low header. At the other end, meanwhile, Orok caused further tension with a superb through ball that Mbaoma failed to make the best of.
Utibe Arit scored the opener with fourteen minutes left, tucking home from a rebound after Kayode failed to handle Duke’s freekick. But Victor Mbaoma equalised ten minutes later, picking up Cyril Olisema’s through ball to send home an exquisite finish.
Substitute Anayo Iwuala hit the upright with his first touch of the game as Enyimba took the ascendancy and pushed for a late claim, but it was the hosts that eventually got the winner when Arit capitalised on indecisive defending to lash home his brace and subject the champions to their second defeat of the season.
Enyimba have thus dropped to sixth on the table, four points off the pace of leaders, Plateau United. The People’s Elephant will be back in action on Wednesday with a home fixture against Lobi Stars.