Strikers Godwin Obaje and Chijioke Alaekwe scored in each half as FC Ifeanyiubah ended their run of three games without a win with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Katsina United in a Matchday 27 encounter decided in Nnewi on Sunday.
Obaje recorded his 10th goal of the season when he converted from the spot on 21 minutes after Alaekwe was upended inside the penalty area.
The Ifeanyiubah Number 9 then made the game safe for the hosts five minutes from time when he powered home Bright Onyedikachi’s right wing cross.
Alaekwe who was making his first start of the season for FC Ifeanyiubah was a menace all through the game for the visitors who failed to match his movement and pace, most times resorting to committing fouls against the striker.
Alaekwe was not the only Ifeanyiubah player making his first start for the Anambra Warriors as winger John Huan Ardongu also did same while the duo of Wilson Elu and Fabrice Ngoma Luamba started for the first time in the second stanza as Coach Yaw Preko made five changes to his team.
Katsina United made a solitary change to their own lineup with match winner last time out, Obinna Eleje replacing Musa Suleiman in the line up.
Eleje, it was that recorded his team’s only attempt on target in the first half when he shot straight at Ikechukwu Ezenwa from 30 yards.
The hosts literally laid siege on their opponents’ penalty box during the opening exchanges and had four corner kicks in the first five minutes.
One of the dead ball situations saw Ngoma Luamba rising highest to meet John Huan’s delivery but his header came off the right hand post.
It was indeed a sign of what to come and in the 8th minute, left back Felix Osia also volleyed another Huan corner on target but Katsina goalie parried to safety.
Three minutes later, Okoli was called to action once again and he got down quickly to beat away Godwin Obaje’s header after a good overlapping run by Elu.
All of Ifeanyiubah’s hardwork paid on 18 minutes when the marauding Alaekwe was brought down inside the penalty box by Tasiu Lawal with the referee pointing to the spot.
Obaje duly dispatched from twelve yards, getting to double figures in the number of goals this term.
Obaje narrowly failed to hard to the tally two minutes before half time when he rose to meet Prince Aggreh’s cross but failed to trouble Okoli as the first half wound down with the visitors barely putting up any meaningful fight other than spontaneous complaints on refereeing decisions.
The second half did not start the way the first in terms of goal mouth action but the hosts continue to dominate possession and patiently waiting to increase the tally.
The visitors however had their best passage of play in the whole game just before the hour mark when Tasiu Lawal broke down the right before sending a teasing cross in the direction of Usule Martins.
The attacker went for a diving header but Ifeanyiubah goalkeeper Ezenwa had no problems picking it up.
Mindful of the uncertainty in a 1-0 scoreline, Ifeanyiubah coach, Yaw Preko who was presented with his League Bloggers Award for Manager of the Month of May before the match, replaced his two wingers John Huan and Prince Aggreh with two other wingers Bright Onyedikachi and King Osanga and it proved to be inspiring in the end.
It was Osanga that had the first impact on 77 minutes when his cross-shot squirmed under Katsina goalkeeper Okoli but his blushes was spared by his captain Nasiru Sani who cleared the ball just before it crossed the goal line.
There was however non-stopping the Anambra Warriors from sealing victory five minutes from time when the other substitute Onyedikachi crossed from the right into a crowded box. Alaekwe rose highest to head into the roof of the net beyond Okoli.
Victory only moved Ifeanyiubah up one spot to 6th on the Nigeria Professional Football League log with a superior goals difference over 7th placed Enyimba while Katsina United maintained the 13th spot.