The very fine run of seven time Nigeria league champions, Rangers International F.C in the run-up to the 2019/2020 season came to an end, Thursday, in Asaba as Delta Force FC of Asaba earned a 2-1 victory in a pre-season tie.
Coach Benedict Ugwu kept faith with the majority of the lads that has helped the team to a ten match winning run in a very wet and cold afternoon but the host looked determined to stop the fine run of the
‘Flying Antelopes’ with Obinna Bassey, Bala Yahuza and Effini Nsi scombining well up front but met a stiff resistance in the Isiaka Oladuntoye and Semiu Liadi led backline.
Despite enjoying possession in the early part of the game, the host would have been pegged back in the first quarter of the game but for the agility of goalkeeper Emmanuel Iwu who reacted well to beat out an Obinna Eleje’ fierce shot from the edge of the box.
With the rains coming down heavily, the pitch became difficult to handle for both sides but it was the home side that went into the break the happier as a penalty kick awarded by the referee few minutes to the end of the first half was neatly converted by Obinna Bassey after the arbiter judged that Femi Thomas tackle on him inside the box was rough.
At the start of the second stanza, the visitors took the game to the host’s half with Ibrahim Olawoyin, Ifeanyi George, Obinna Eleje and Ikechukwu Ibenegbu combining well and in a swift move that saw Olawoyin free on goal, he was wrestled down in the box and Ifeanyi George converted the penalty kick awarded on 55 minutes.
The host reacted well to the equalizer with fine attacking football but Femi Thomas was equal to the task on three occasions when they broke through the defense just as Emmanuel Iwu did at the back to prevent Olawoyin, George and Loute’ efforts to rest in the net on separate occasions.
The host got their second of the day on 80 minutes as substitute, Kasali Moshood was allowed too much space inside the box to control an incisive cross from Oduro Isaac and buried into the far corner beyond a diving Thomas.
All efforts to get back into the match failed to yield the needed result as Delta Force avenged their 2-0 loss earlier in Enugu few weeks back.
Coach Ugwu said after the match, “It was a good and very tough match
that stretched my players. We did our best but we lost to an equally determined side. We have noticed the weak link and shall go back and rectify them for a better outing.”
The ‘Flying Antelopes’ will next play FC Ifeanyiubah in another pre-season friendly match at the Neros Sports stadium, Nanka, Orumba North LGA of Anambra state where the team is presently in a close camp preparing for the first leg, first round, Total/CAF Confederation cup 2019/2020 encounter with Gabonese side, AS Pelican slated for oil rich West African nation in the weekend of 13/14/15 of September, 2019.