Two-time CAF Champions League winner, Enyimba International of Aba, finished champion of the Nigeria Premier League for the 2009/2010 season after defeating rival, Kano Pillars, on Wednesday evening in Aba by 2 – 1.
It was Enyimba that got off the blocks faster than its opponent at the Enyimba Sports Complex through goals from Osas Idehen and Josiah Maduabuchi before Pillars’ substitute, Moses Ogaga, pulled one back.
The win meant that the Peoples Elephant has won its sixth title since the Nigerian top-flight division adopted the Premier League toga.
The Peoples Elephant’s opening goal came just seven minutes past the half hour mark when Idehen slotted past onrushing Kano Pillars’ goalkeeper, Sani Haliru, against the run of play after Uche Kalu had beaten Solomon Okpako to an aerial ball.
Okpako had replaced injured Thompson Joseph barely two minutes when his mistake led to Enyimba’s goal.
In spite of Kano Pillars’ superior possession in the game, it was Enyimba that scored the second after a solo effort from Maduabuchi, who rounded off the defence of the opponent to beat Haliru on second attempt after the Pillars’ goalie could only punch the first into his path.
Kano Pillars’ players protested the goal, as they had expected Maduabuchi to show fair play after Alhaji Mohammed was down on the turf but did not interfere with the run of play.
On 78 minutes, an interchange of passes among Kano Pillars’ players released league top scorer, Ahmed Musa, to square into the path of Ogaga to back heel a cheeky goal past a bewildered Enyimba goalkeeper, Chijioke Ejiogu.
In an attempt to salvage the situation, Kano Pillars’ head coach, Salisu Yusuf, brought on Musa Musa for Shehu Shagari with Ogaga handed the chance to move into an attacking position.
With three minutes to full-time, Gambo Mohammed was culpable for missing Pillars’ best chance after good work from Ahmed Musa on the left flank.
The triumph further swells the trophy cabinet of the Aba Elephant, which has won the league six times, the FA Cup (now Federation Cup) twice, the CAF Champions League twice and the African Super Cup twice.