Super Eagles goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama inspired his French Ligue 1 side Lille Metropole to a 2-0 victory over Monaco, which brought an end to Claudio Ranieri’s men’s unbeaten run on Sunday.
Nolan Roux’s two goals at the Stade Pierre-Mouroy won the match and dealt a blow to the principality club’s hopes of battling Paris St Germain (PSG) for the championship but special recognition for Enyeama, 31, who made some absolutely crucial saves.
Sunday’s clean sheet was Enyeama seventh successive league games without conceding since Christopher Glombard of Stade de Reims scored against him on August 17.
The result sees Rene Girard’s men climb above their opponents in the table, two points behind league leaders PSG and a point ahead of the third-placed Monaco.
Roux opened scoring midway through the first-half when he poked a Marka Basa goalward header beyond the visitors’ goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, who had already committed himself in the direction of Basa’s initial leap.
Monaco were the better team throughout the second-half but Lille looked dangerous on the break and the second came from a swift counter through Solomon Kalou, who slipped in Rio Mavuba and the hosts captain unselfishly squared Roux to tap in.
Ranieri’s side pushed for a late goal in the closing stages of the game but Enyeama was an absolute rock in Lille’s goal. The Nigerian shot-stopper first denied a powerful Radamel Falcao strike before immediately keeping out substitute Emmanuel Riviere’s strike from point-blank range.
Those flurries of saves came in a crucial closing period after he had confidently kept out a free-kick into the box.
Riviere lauded Enyema after the match and admitted his side did not deserve a point from the round 12 encounter.
“It was a tough game and we had a bad first-half,” the striker told Canal+ after the match.
“Respect to the goalkeeper (Enyeama) who mdae some fantastic saves in the second half. LOSC deserves their victory. We now need to keep our heads up and work harder.”
Real have now earned 26 points from a possible 36 and that brings their preparedness for the league title into perspective.