Rangers Earn Third Win on The Bounce, Defeat Abia Warriors

January 20 05:56 2020

It was a domineering performance for the coach Salisu Yusuf tutored side, Rangers International F.C as the ‘Flying Antelopes’ earned its third straight win in the NPFL with a 3-1 defeat of neighbors, Abia Warriors F.C in an ‘Oriental Derby’.

The match day 16 encounter saw the Enugu Landlords take the fight to the visitors as soon as referee Iyorha Ephraim sounded his whistle to signal the start of hostilities with the trio of Chiamaka Madu, Ifeanyi George and Ibrahim Olawoyin leading the assault as the coach made two changes to the M.D 15 squad that earned a win on the road in Warri.

Fans inside the main bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium that included two traditional rulers did not have to wait long in the game to celebrate its first goal as a dashing dribbling run from Chiamaka Madu saw him glide through a sea of tackling legs and challenges to fire a shot inside the box that was beaten out by goalkeeper, Charles Tambe for vintage positioned, Ibrahim Olawoyin to tap into an empty net on seven minutes.

Stung as they were, the coach Emmanuel Deutsch tutored side took the game to the host, with bulky attacker, Oghenetega Ebetomame and Yakub Hammed causing the Rangers backline some troubles and in a rear moment of loss of concentration, Bello Lukman was left unmarked and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands to draw the visitors level on 10 minutes to send the travelling fans and bench into wild celebrations.

Both sides became cautious in the next ten minutes not wanting to give anything away cheaply but the host dug into its reserve to continue to dominate proceedings and would have been ahead in several occasions but for the eagle-eyed defensive network put up by the Austin Obaroakpo led line.

On 38th minute, Tambe had to be at his best to stop an Obaroakpo deflected shot from resting in his net for what would have been an own goal after Rangers left-back, Emmanuel Nwokeji let fly a shot but three minutes later, hard-working, Ifeanyi George connected with the head an inch perfect cross from Nwokeji to restore Rangers’ lead on 41 minutes.

The visitors returned after the break with much urgency and could have leveled up on 52 minutes but was denied by Nana Bonsu while Chiamaka Madu and Kehinde Adedipe saw their efforts miss target on 55 and 60 minutes.

Ifeanyi George grabbed his brace in the match on 70 minutes as he ran onto an Ibrahim Olawoyin’ defense splitting pass to fire an unstoppable shot past Tambe for Rangers third goal of the day before he was pulled out five minutes later for Ivorian import, Pascal Seka.

On the stroke of ninety minutes, the visitors thought they have further reduced the deficit but Lukman’ effort came off the cross bar while a rear counter-attack move presented Pascal Seka an opportunity to punish the visitors further but he chose to play to the gallery to the relief of the Abia Warriors bench in added on time of the match.

Coach Salisu Yusuf said after the encounter, “I am happy for my team because the confidence and self-belief is gradually coming back and everybody is working hard both on and off the ball. With this mentality, I can see us getting more better result that what we got against Abia Warriors. We conceded a careless goal but I knew we had the game under control but still we had to work hard to earn the win as there is no easy game anywhere. We continue to work hard to win matches both home and away.”

Two goals hero, Ifeanyi George said, “It was a tough match that we gave our all and thank God we got the needed victory. Yes, it been a while that I have not been scoring but with two goals today, I am sure to continue doing the job with the able assistance of my team mates. I appreciate the fans, coaches and management for their patience and hope to work harder to continue from where we stopped today. I am happy that the confidence is coming back for the entire team.”

RANGERS TEAM: Nana Bonsu, Tope Olusesi, Emmanuel Nwokeji, Tony Shimaga, Uche John, Isiaka Oladuntoye, Kehinde Adedipe, Ifeanyi George (Pascal Seka -75th min.), Chiamaka Madu, Ibrahim Olawoyin (Osas Okoro -85th min.), Kelvin Itoya (Dauda Madaki -54th min.). SUBS NOT USED: Seidu Mutawakilu, Okey Odita, Christian Madu, Chinonso Eziekwe.

GOALS: Ibrahim Olawoyin – 7th Minute, Ifeanyi George – 41st & 70th Minutes.

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