The ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International F.C, Sunday, inside the main bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, earned all three points at stake as the coach Salisu Yusuf tutored side put paid to the eight-match unbeaten run of table-topping, Kwara United in a matchday 11, NPFL 2021 fixture.
Captain of the day for the Enugu side was the hero of the day as he reacted the quickest inside the box to tuck home what turned out to be the match winner on the half-hour mark after Christian Nnaji had flicked on an Isaac Loute’ throw-in.
The visitors had been the quicker off the starting block with Stephen Jude, Michael Ohanu and Chinedu Ufere pulling the strings but the duo of Godspower Tower Aniefiok and Tony Shimaga did well in the middle of the pack to contain the early onslaught.
The host gradually grew in the game as the minutes ticked on with Christian Nnaji, Chidiebere Nwobodo and Israel Abia pushing back the Jide Williams led the defence of the visitors and Nnaji sadly, saw his effort on 18 minutes chopped off by the flag of the assistant referee after he connected an Ifeanyi Nweke’ pin-point cross past a stranded Dele Aiyenugba.
But there was no stopping Chaimaka Madu from registering his first goal of the season twelve minutes later as hesitant defending exposed the former Super Eagles and Enyimba shot-stopper, Aiyenugba, with a quick reaction to tap home.
The visitors did carve open an opportunity on 43 minutes but Stephen Jude’ long-range effort came off the crossbar with Femi Thomas well beaten but the shot-stopper was alive to his duties twenty minutes into the second stanza to punch out an Ohanu’ effort.
Nnaji also watched in awe as his well-drilled shot sailed over the bar after he had evaded a sea of tackling legs to set himself up for what would have been a contender for the goal of the season on 66 minutes and four minutes later, Nwobodo saw his effort miss target by a few inches.
Chiamaka Madu almost grabbed his second of the day on 88 minutes but Aiyenugba did well to make a world class save just as substitute, Alao Dabani, failed in his effort to draw his side level a few minutes later when he blazed his shot over the bar after he snapped an offside trap.
Coach Salisu Yusuf of Rangers praised the efforts of his players in getting the win stressing, “It was a good and well deserved win against a quality side. We hope to keep working on the team and tag along the top teams on the log until such a time when we shall get an opportunity to achieve our target for the season.”
Christian Nnaji on his part, said, “It was good we won today as we did well against the table-topping side. I thank God for the victory and hopefully, my goals will come and there will be no reason to disallow it.”
Rangers will midweek, take a trip to Bauchi to trade tackles with Wikki Tourists F.C, in a matchday 12 fixture, whose weekend match was postponed by the league organizers due to the auto accident that the Bauchi stateside was involved in on their way to honour a match in Uyo against Dakkada.