The ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International F.C on Sunday, May 30, 2021, at the Ifeanyiubah stadium, Nnewi, earned a valuable one point to steady its push for a top finish in the league with a goalless draw against F.C Ifeanyiubah.
With the security situation around the venue of the match not too pleasing, officials detailed for the match in agreement with the contending sides moved the match forward by over one and half hours which saw the match day 24 fixture kickoff by 2.15pm.
The coach Uche Okagbue tutored side went in search for early breaks but the 3-5-2 formation put up by coach Salisu Yusuf effectively curtailed the young side that had Ekene Awazie, Uche Onuoha and Maxwell Ijeoma leading the attack for the host even as the bumpy pitch did not give the visitors comfort to express their skills.
With Elijah Ani and Christian Nnaji leading the attack for the Enugu side with supplies from Chiamaka Madu, Tony Shimaga and Esor Achibong the backline on the Nnewi side was kept busy just as the game crept past the quarter-hour mark but the clearest sniff at goal fell for the host but Uche Onuoha watched in awe as his effort missed target on 27 minutes.
In the second stanza, the chances thinned down as the battle got stuck in the midfield as both sides tried to outwit themselves with little success.
Coach Yusuf made three substitutions early into the second stanza that saw the coming in of Godspower Aniefiok, Ugochukwu Ugwuoke and Ibrahim Olawoyin to add bite upfront while injured, Ernest Governor made way for Senegalese defense Trojan, Pape Ousmane and the host were pushed back into their defensive shell.
Twice, the visitors had a crack at goal off the boots of Tony Shimaga and Charles Tiesso but it did little to worry Sharp Uzoigwe who was between the sticks for the host while a late mix-up at the back by Rangers’ goalkeeper, Seidu Mutawakilu almost gifted the host with the opening goal on 89 minute but substitute, Femi Emmanuel failed to take the gift.
Coach Salisu Yusuf said after the encounter, “It was a good result but could have been better. We thank God for the result and hope to improve in coming matches.”
With the result, Rangers maintain their new found form after the home loss to Rivers United of not conceding a goal and have notched up five points from a possible nine.
RANGERS TEAM: Seidu Mutawakilu, Tope Olusesi, Ifeanyi Nweke, Chiamaka Madu (Ugochukwu Ugwuoke -55th Min.), Uche John, Ebuka Anthony, Esor Achibong (Godspower Aniefiok -55th Min.), Tony Shimaga, Christian Nnaji (Ibrahim Olawoyin -62nd Min.), Elijah Ani (Charles Tiesso -86th Min.), Ernest Governor (Pape Ousmane – 55th Min.). SUBS NOT USED: Femi Thomas, Shedrack Asiegbu, Daniel Vendaga, Christian Madu.