Rangers International coach, Salisu Yusuf, has described their victorious encounter against Ifeanyiubah Football Club as a difficult and tough one.
The ‘Flying Antelopes’ did well to ward off a late challenge from F.C Ifeanyiubah to annex the maximum points at stake with a 2-1 scoreline for the club’s third straight win in the four-week-old NPFL 2020/2021 season.
Coach Salisu had juggled his team a bit from the team that earned a 1-0 road win over Jigawa Golden Stars over the weekend handing starts to Osas Okoro, Ebuka Franklin, Chidiebere Nwobodo, Ugwuoke Ugochukwu, and Israel Abia while keeping faith with Nana Bonsu to man the post.
“It was a very tough and difficult match as our opponent played with so much determination most probably because of their home loss at the weekend. However, we were able to subdue them. Their goalkeeper also made some great saves today which made the result more respectable.”
It was a blistering start for the ‘Flying Antelopes’ as they would have had their nose in front as early as the 2nd minute when Israel Abia’ connecting header off a Christian Nnaji’ inch-perfect cross was bravely pushed out by goalkeeper, Sharp Uzoigwe who had to be at his ‘Sharpest’ best to block out another headed effort by Christian Nnaji who connected well with an Osas Okoro cross on five minutes.
Israel Abia had another opportunity to break the deadlock on 7 minutes but his shot was comfortably coddled by an impressive Uzoigwe but there was no stopping last season’ top goal scorer, Abia from twelve yards on 12 minutes after the referee had awarded the home side a spot-kick following the upending of Nnaji by Evans Obonda inside the box.
Efforts to increase the tally did not see the light of the day as Uzoigwe was at his best to thwart all goal-bound shots while his opposite, Nana Bonsu, who captained his side for the match, had to be alert at the half-hour mark to beat out a Lukman Aliu’ well-struck shot.
Ekene Awazie restored parity for the visiting ‘Anambra Warriors’ after a breakdown in communication from Rangers’ backline with the second half just six minutes old but the celebration for the equalizer did not last long as a substitute, Shedrack Asiegbu, curled home from inside the opponent’s box on 55 minutes after some hesitant defending.
The introduction of Femi Ajayi, Ojukwu Ifegwu, and Dauda Madaki by coach Salisu did not help in breaching the backline of the visitors again as they restrained to a handful of long-range shots that failed to trouble a very ‘Sharp’, Sharp Uzoigwe’ well mashalled backline till referee, Mohammad Abubakar brought proceedings to a halt.
Rangers will at the weekend be guests of MFM, the ‘Olukoya Babes’ at the ‘Soccer Temple’, Agege Township Stadium, Lagos, with a win the sole target for the seven-time Nigeria league champions.