Samad Kadiri made a match-winning contribution on his Enyimba debut as his second-half goal handed the People’s Elephant a 1-0 win against Abia Warriors at the Enyimba Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The forward stepped up to convert from the spot after Fatai Abdullahi handled Philip Ozor’s shot inside the box.
After missing out of the team’s opening three Champions League fixtures – largely due to injury – Kadiri announced himself early in his first Abia derby as his energetic start drew attention in an empty Enyimba Stadium.
The game’s first chance however fell to Orok Gabriel, who was set up by Stephen Manyo, but the winger miscued.
Orok was again involved shortly after with a splitting run that forced Ojo Olorunleke into a double save.
Philip Ozor played Sadiq Abubakar one-on-one with Olorunleke, but the keeper made himself big to divert the effort wide.
Orok flopped another chance after the restart before the enterprising Ozor saw his levelled strike come off the arm of Abdullahi for a chance from the spot, which Kadiri coolly converted to become the first player after Martins Usule to score on his NPFL debut for Enyimba.
The striker had another chance to get his brace but misfired from close range after receiving a fine pass from Manyo.
Enyimba has thus won the last five meetings with their state neighbours, with Warriors’ last win coming in 2016.
Fatai Osho’s men will have Kwara United to contend within another NPFL fixture on Saturday, before returning to Aba to face Al Merrikh in the Champions League next Wednesday.