Two second half penalty kicks expertly tucked away by Christian Nnaji and new boy, Elijah Ani was all the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International needed to annex the maximum points in a re-scheduled M.D 19, NPFL 2020/21 fixture in an ‘Oriental Derby’ against Enyimba International F.C in Enugu.
FIFA badge referee, Adebimpe Quadri’ eagle eyes were sharp enough to spot the handball incidences by Somiani Alalibo on 52 and 89 minutes of play in the tightly contested encounter and goalkeeper, Sabirou Djeri Bassa had no answers to the well taken spot kicks.
The visitors had the opportunity to put their noses in front when Samad Kadiri was allowed a lot of space inside the six-yard by some slack defending but Seidu Mutawakilu was equal to the task with a smart save on 22 minutes while the visitors’ shot stopper produced an eye pooping save to deny Chiamaka Madu from finding the back of the net on 31 minutes as both sides retired to the dressing room on even terms.
Rangers’ Benin Republic senior international, Charles Tiesso was a delight to watch in the encounter with his crisp passes and tackles to draw applause from the few that had the privilege to watch the encounter as he was a constant threat to the visitors.
In the last ten minutes of the encounter, coach Salisu Yusuf introduced the trio of Felix Ogbuke, Ugochukwu Ugwuoke and Israel Abia after the entry of another new boy, Elijah Ani and the visitors were further pushed back just as the introduction of Super Eagles new boy, Anayo Iwuala and Tosin Omoyele on 67 minute seemed to have emboldened the ‘Peoples Elephant’ to venture upfront.
After the encounter, a visibly elated Elijah Ani said, “It was a great game against a quality side but we knew what we wanted and had to go for it and thank God, we got it. I feel good having my name on the score sheet even if from a penalty kick. I thank my team mates for the support and encouragement to take the kick.”
Coach Salisu Yusuf on his part, said, “Enyimba is a good side anyday but we had them where we wanted them in this encounter and thank God we got the win. We shall continue to work to improve in the coming matches.”
Rangers will next play against Rivers United in a match day 21 fixture on May 16, 2021 in Enugu to further push for a top finish in the current season.
RANGERS TEAM: Seidu Mutawakilu, Tope Olusesi, Ifeanyi Nweke, Ernest Governor, Uche John, Chidiebere Nwobodo (Shedrack Asiegbu -40th Min.), Christian Nnaji (Israel Abia -83rd Min.), Chinonso Eziekwe (Elijah Ani -68th Min.), Chiamaka Madu (Ugochukwu Ugwuoke -83rd Min.), Charles Tiesso (Felix Ogbuke -83rd Min.). SUBS NOT USED: Femi Thomas, Ebuka Anthony, Daniel Vandagar, Dauda Madaki.
GOALS: Christian Nnaji – 53rd Minutes (Pen.), Elijah Ani -90 Minutes (Pen.).