Four second-half goals from coach Abdul Maikaba’s tutored side, Rangers International F.C practically defused the ‘Ragging Tornadoes’ of a resolute Niger Tornadoes F.C in a matchday 4, NPFL 2021/2022 fixture inside F.C Ifeanyiubah Stadium, Nnewi in the first match of the New Year, 2022.
After a nail-biting first half that saw the ‘Ikon Allah’ boys defend resolutely to contain all that was thrown at them by the quartet of Elijah Ani, Chinonso Eziekwe, Chidiebere Nwobodo, and Shedrack Asiegbu.
As early as the quarter-hour mark, goalkeeper George Michael have been called to duty twice as he reacted well to beat out a Kenechukwu Agu and Chidiebere Nwobodo’ stinging shots while his defence line was alive to their duties on 28 minutes to block an Ugochukwu Ugwuoke’ goal-bound shot.
The duo of Martins Usule and Ahmadu Liman was quite a handful but the backline of Rangers ably led by captain Tope Olusesi were alive to their duties on the day.
When both sides returned for the second stanza, it was the ‘Flying Antelopes’ that continued from where they stopped in the first as a mazy run started by Ugochukwu Ugwuoke found a vintage Eziekwe who let fly a goal-bound shot that was stopped by the out-stretched hand of Abiodun Adebayo and the referee wasted no time in pointing to the spot.
Kenechukwu Agu expertly dispatched the resultant penalty kick on 58 minutes just as the young midfielder grabbed his second of the day from another dead-ball situation on 70 minutes when he drove in a free-kick past the defensive wall to beat the goalkeeper from 28 meters.
Shedrack Asiegbu opened his goals account for the season with his trademark volley on 73 minutes when he latched onto a free ball from almost thirty yards just as a substitute, Christian Nnaji reacted the fastest to tap in a Tope Olusesi inch-perfect cross on 90 minutes to hand the Enugu landlords its biggest win since October 2016 when El-Kanemi Warriors conceded the same number of goals at ‘The Cathedral’, Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu.
Coach Abdul Maikaba said after the massive win, “It was an exciting result. It was not just winning but winning well against a very good side. The goals difference we have in this game will to a very large extent count for us on the log. Our opponent fought very well in the first half but I believe that my boys suffered some psychological challenges in that half but when we came back after the break, the difference was clear.”
Two-goal hero, Kenechukwu Agu said, “We came prepared for a win in the match and to God be the glory, we got the result we wanted and worked for even when our opponents showed some stuff in the first half. For the goals I scored, it was God’ grace in action and I thank my coaches and teammates for their support.”
With the win, Rangers jump to the 3rd position on the log after four match days with seven points and a +4 goals difference, scoring six and conceding two.
RANGERS TEAM: Bamidele Adeniyi, Tope Olusesi, Bala Akintunde, Kenechukwu Agu, Ernest Governor, Ebuka Anthony, Chidiebere Nwobodo (Julius Ikechukwu -71st Min.), Ugochukwu Ugwuoke (Christian Madu -69th Min.), Shedrack Asiegbu (Saidu Adamu – 76th Min.), Chinonso Eziekwe (Christian Nnaji -71st Min.), Elijah Ani. SUBS NOT USED: Seidu Mutawakilu, Olawale Doyeni, Uche John.
|January 2, 2022||4:00 pm||NPFL||2021/2022||4|
|Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium, Enugu|
- Kenechukwu Agu 58'
- Shedrack Asiegbu 71'
- Shedrack Asiegbu 73'
- Christian Nnaji 90'