Enyimba stunned by incisive ABS in Cup ouster

by Solace Chukwu on Wed 16 August, 2017

ABS FC struck at the start of both halves in Ilorin to secure a 2-1 victory over Enyimba in Round 64 of the 2017 Aiteo Cup.

The fixture was a chance at redemption for the hosts, who only three days later, lost by three unanswered goals to the People's Elephants in the league, further imperilling their league status. They seized the chance with both hands, and were full value for the win, which sees Enyimba exit the tournament at the first hurdle.

Four-time Cup champions Enyimba named an unchanged starting 11 from the side which won so convincingly in Calabar at the weekend, with Gbenga Ogunbote clearly favouring continuity. The only change in the squad saw Goodluck Onamado take a spot on the bench in place of Uche John, who was laid low with illness.

It was ABS however who raced out of the blocks and immediately put their visitors on the back foot. Their early enterprise was rewarded when goalkeeper Fatau Dauda brought down an onrushing attacker, giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Midfielder Samuel Oyedeji stepped up, and coolly dispatched to give ABS the lead after only six minutes.

Enyimba came into the game more after that, with the most likely route to goal being, once again, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu. He flashed a free kick just wide barely minutes later, before then coming within a hair's breadth of finding Samson Gbadebo from another set-piece delivery.

Soon after, parity was restored. Eric Frimpong, scorer of the second goal the weekend, was again in the right place at the right time midway through the half, and profited from Ibrahim Mustapha's deft flick to stab home past Yinka Adewale in the ABS goal.

With the score level, the tie was finely poised and the threat of penalties straight after loomed large. However, that state of affairs did not last long. With the second half barely underway, the hosts again edged ahead. Abubakar Chindo, culpable for a very bad miss toward the end of the first half, was unmarked in the centre of the penalty area and made no mistake, stooping to head the Saraki Boys ahead once more.

With plenty of time left, Enyimba went in search of a second equaliser. Leading the resistance was Mustapha, who stung the palms of Adewale with a rasping drive from range in the 53rd minute.

The ABS goalie was having an inspired game, and produced further saves to deny both Stanley Dimgba and Ibenegbu, the latter from another free kick, to see out the result and book passage to the Round of 32 for the host side.

ABS 2 (Oyedeji 6', Chindo 47') 2-1 Enyimba (Frimpong 23')

Enyimba Starting XI: Fatau Dauda, Andrew Abalogu (Goodluck Onamado 42'), Samson Gbadebo, Nelson Ogbonnaya, Ikouwem Udoh, Dare Ojo, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, Stanley Dimgba (Ugochukwu Leonard 70'), Eric Frimpong (Maxwell Effiom 55'), Stephen Chukwude, Ibrahim Mustapha. Unused subs: Kelly Kester, Chinonso Okonkwo, Koffi Franco Atchou, Njoku Izundu