Enyimba began their NPFL23 campaign with a good showing against Nasarawa United at the New Jos Stadium in their Group A clash. The People’s Elephant claimed a 2-1 win on away soil to record a second away win this season after Akwa United’s loss to Bendel Insurance.
Enyimba endured a disappointing campaign in Finidi George’s debut season in charge as they missed out on continental qualification at the end of the season. They needed to start the season in the best manner possible after making a number of new signings in the off-season.
The People’s Elephant started the match on the front foot, with striker Sadiq Abubakar recording the first effort on goal in the opening three minutes.
Enyimba broke the deadlock shortly after the half-hour mark through debutant Akanni Elijah. The former MFM FC playmaker arrowed an effort into the corner of the net from all of 25 yards in the 32nd minute of the encounter.
The visitors wasted no time to drive home their advantage as left-back Imoh Obot fired home a direct free-kick only six minutes later to make it two to Enyimba.
Nasarawa United were awakened by the quickfire double and began to ask questions of the Enyimba backline in the second half. Their endeavour was rewarded when they received a penalty in the 87th minute. Ikenna Offor stepped up to take the penalty and Olorunleke Ojo made a good save, only for Oche Josiah to head home the rebound to set up a grandstand finale.
Enyimba held on for an important opening day win to ease nerves heading into the new season. The People’s Elephant will look to build on this win in their subsequent matches.