The bright prospects of the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International F.C in the pre-season continued on Thursday at the Okigwe township stadium with a 4-2 spanking of ‘Oriental Rivals’, Heartland F.C in a friendly encounter.
Coach Benedict Ugwu kept faith with the squad that edged past F.C Inter in the inaugural edition of Enugu F.A Super Cup over the weekend, except for the duo of Femi Thomas and Sadick Abbas, and he was handsomely rewarded.
After an early scare from the ‘Naze Millionaires’ which saw lanky, Osita Chikere, Chinedu Ohanachom and Chineze Nwautoh try all their tricks to dislodge the defensive combination of Semiu Liadi, Isiaka Oladuntoye, Tope Olusesi and Ugwu Uwadiegwu with little success.
Rangers took over the initiative in the game and Ifeanyi George shot the seven time league champions into the lead with a fierce shot from over thirty yards on 35 minutes.
Two quick goals from the fleet footed Ibrahim Olawoyin on 60 and 62 minutes gave the Enugu side a healthy three goals lead, the first from the penalty spot after he was fouled inside the box and the second a clinical finish after he was set up by Ifeanyi George which sandwiched Donatus Edafe’ missed spot kick on 57 minutes.
However, Promise Orji reduced the deficit on 75 minutes after he sent Nana Bonsu the wrong way from the spot while Rangers substitute, Dauda Madaki restored the three goal cushion as he expertly volleyed in an Ibrahim Olawoyin’ chipped cross on 80 minutes but Promise was on hand again to dispatch from the spot another penalty kick on second attempt after Bonsu had parried his first effort on 87 minute.
Coach Ugwu said after the encounter, “We are gradually getting to the level that we wish to be going into the continent. Heartland gave us a very good fight but we did well to contain them and played our game. We give God the glory.”
Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu of Heartland said, “Today’ game was very poor maybe because of fitness level and understanding is not there yet but I believe that we shall soon get to the desired level and get the job done effectively.”
Rangers will this weekend take on Warri Wolves F.C at the Warri city stadium in another pre-season friendly encounter from where it heads to Neros stadium, Nanka in Anambra state for a week long close camping exercise where more matches will be played.
Recall that the Total/CAF Confederation cup 2019/2020 hopefuls will kick start their campaign for continental honors in the weekend of 13/14/15 of September, 2019 with a road trip to Gabonese side, A.S Pelicans who stopped the ambitions of D.R Congo side, A.S Meniama Union in the preliminary round.