Enyimba International manager, Gbenga Ogunbote has expressed satisfaction with his players performance against Abia Warriors in Sunday’s NPFL matchday 24 encounter at the U.J Esuene Stadium, Calabar.
The seven-time league champions edged their state rival Abia Warriors 2-1 in the second Abia Derby fixture of the season.
The reverse fixture ended goalless at the Umuahia Township Stadium, while Abia Warriors also defeated Enyimba in the State FA Cup final.
Enyimba captain Mfon Udoh scored a brace in the game, he scored the first goal in the 21st minute from the spot and doubled his side’s lead a minute into the second half. Amanfor Chidimize came off the bench and scored Abia Warriors consolation.
“Derby games are the most difficult to play at the moment you need result. We got a point in the first leg at Umuahia and also lost the State FA Cup title to them but we are happy to win this,” said Ogunbote to Naijafootballplus.com.
“We both came into the game with a lot of history and pedigree but we needed the result more. We got the first goal and dominated the first half, we could have scored more.
“I warned my players about the slim lead after the first half and then we set up tactically to add more goals in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
“Fortunately, for us the goalkeeper and their defender made a mistake and Mfon was in good position to finish the final ball for our second goal.
“I must commend the big fight from Abia Warriors, the tense atmosphere was expected. It’s a derby game that could have gone either way, we prepared for such tough game.
“The moment they scored I knew we would have some problems, they dominated but my players were compact. I have to introduce Ichull Lordson to pack the midfield and protect the defence.”
The derby victory moved Enyimba to third position in the NPFL table with 38 points from 24 matches, seven points behind table toppers Plateau United.
Ogunbote added: “We don’t want to start talking about the league, it’s important for us to remain focus and continue to play and get results as a group.
“The situation was a bit tough when we started because of the exodus of players that left but we have been able to work hard and compete in the league.
“I appreciate my players resilience to situations we found ourselves at the early stages of the season and we can only stay focus rather than talking. We have our target and we hope to achieve it at the end of the season.”