Striker Victor Mbaoma starred in what turned out to be a routine victory for defending league champions Enyimba over newly-promoted Adamawa United at the Enyimba Stadium in Aba on Sunday, the 2-0 scoreline graciously flattering the visitors.
But for hitherto reliable winger Reuben Bala who squandered at least three good scoring opportunities, the two first-half goals scored by Mbaoma could have easily served as appetizers for a goal-fest that never manifested.
Mbaoma’s 20th and 26th-minute goals were his first league goals of the season – he already has one in the CAF Confederation Cup – for the People’s Elephant and was a happy return for the striker.
“I feel very happy, I feel very very glad to score twice. Although I would have been happier if I made it a hattrick but I will embrace this too,” Mbaoma told www.npfl.ng after the game.
The former Akwa United star could have opened his account for the day after just three minutes on the clock but for Adamawa defender Lukman Surajo who made a last-ditch goal line clearance to hurl away the striker’s chip over the goalkeeper.
The next two chances of the game had Reuben Bala on them. First, Cyril Olisema hit an effort wide on 8 minutes after he was teed up by the winger before Bala himself hit a chance wide on the quarter-hour mark after Stanley Dimgba’s corner fell to him.
Mbaoma then took his chances well, first showing a great sense of alertness to bundle home a rebound after his strike partner Samson Obi was denied by Adamawa goalkeeper Bulus Pwadadi. He was also well placed for the second in which he finished off a Stanley Dimgba free-kick.
A return of three goals in three starts at home (in all competitions) is a decent way to start his Enyimba career but Mbaoma is hoping more will come.
“It has been very good for me so far here in Aba,” continued the Enyimba number 25.
“I hope I will still do more and I pray God will give me that grace to score more. I do have targets for the season but it is right inside my heart, I don’t want to reveal it yet,” he added.
The second half of the Match Day 5 encounter lacked the zeal and urgency of the first, both teams playing at sometimes walking pace as the afternoon sunshine gave way for some light showers.
Mbaoma was however denied what would have been a memorable hattrick fifteen minutes from time when his brilliant header was matched by an equally top drawer save by Pwadadi but his first-half goals were enough to secure full marks for his side.
Up next for Mbaoma and his Enyimba teammates is a trip to North Africa where they will face Moroccan side Hassania Agadir in their first group game in the CAF Confederation Cup next Sunday.