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Referee Abdullahi steals the show as ‘VAR’ drama rocks Enyimba’s tough victory over Doma United

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In a riveting Nigeria Professional Football League clash on Sunday, Enyimba FC secured a narrow 1-0 victory against Doma United from Gombe, marked by late-game VAR controversy, Soccernet.ng reports.

Chijioke Mbaoma emerged as the hero, striking the winning goal in the 89th minute, but the match will be forever etched in memory for the tumultuous events surrounding the decisive moment.

Enyimba, gunning for their tenth league title, asserted dominance throughout the game against a struggling Doma United squad, winless in their last six league outings, with four defeats in tow.

The visitors, eyeing at least a draw, employed a staunch defensive strategy to thwart the hosts.

The deadlock persisted until the 88th minute when Enyimba was granted a corner kick.

After Enyimba executed a short play, the ball eventually reached Mbaoma, who expertly converted it into the net.

Referee Nura Abdullahi promptly awarded the goal, unaware of the brewing controversy.

However, the assistant referee had initially raised the offside flag when the ball was sent to the back post.

Curiously, the flag was lowered after Mbaoma’s goal, triggering protests from Doma officials and players. Sensing the gravity of the situation, the referee consulted his linesman.

After deliberation, the goal was annulled, and a free-kick was awarded to Doma United. Enyimba vehemently contested the decision, prompting demands to review the video replays.

 

Despite VAR not being in use in the NPFL, the referee, under mounting pressure, left the pitch to analyse the footage provided by the NTA news crew.

Upon returning, the referee reinstated the goal to Enyimba, further intensifying protests from Doma United, who refused to resume the match.

The referee waited for the game’s allotted time to elapse before blowing the final whistle, sealing a 1-0 win for Enyimba.

This crucial victory propels Enyimba to second place on the NPFL table with 42 points, trailing leaders Lobi Stars by just one point.

The club, boasting nine league titles and two CAF Champions League honors, is coached by former Ajax and Super Eagles winger George Finidi under the chairmanship of Arsenal great Nwankwo Kanu.

The Aba Elephants are the reigning league champions after winning the 2022-23 season.

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