NPFL: How Nnaji’s brace restored Rangers back to winning ways

Rangers International have put behind them the bashing it got over the weekend in Jos to get back to winning ways as Wikki Tourists F.C of Bauchi came visiting for a matchday 31, NPFL 2021/2022 fixture at the Awka City stadium courtesy of a Christian Nnaji’ brace that sandwiched Christopher John’ goal for a 2-1 scoreline.

Coach Kabiru Dogo’ led Wikki Tourists were the quicker of the block as the referee signaled the start of hostilities and could have been a goal up in the second minute but for the timely reaction of goalkeeper, Nana Bonsu who did well to block Ishaya Anyu’ shot before Ismaily Maiyaki fired the rebound that missed the target by inches.

The early scare jolted the home side into action and took the fight to the half of the visitors and had created three opportunities before the tenth minute but could not convert as Ossy Martins, Nnaji Christian, and Okorie Chukwuebuka failed to take their chances.

On 14 minutes, Christian Nnaji bravely nodded home an Eso Achibong’ well-taken corner kick to send the fans inside the stadium into wild jubilation.

Christopher Jacob restored parity for the visitors after he was allowed much space by his marker on 36 minutes to squeeze in the equalizer from a very tight angle as the visitor’s bench went into wild celebrations.

Five minutes into the second half, Nnaji was fast and smart as a fox in the box as he stabbed home his second of the day and seventh of the season when he was fed by strike partner, Ossy Martins to put the home side back in front.

At the hour mark, coach Abdul Maikaba introduced Israel Abia into the match for Ossy Martins in an effort to get more goals that failed to come not for lack of creating chances for them but for the alertness of the visitor’s backline ably led by Uchenna Udeh and Salisu Adamu but Christian Nnaji would have gotten his third for the day on 85 minutes but missed the target by a few inches after outrunning his markers in a counter-attack move.

Coach Abdul Maikaba said after the encounter, “It was a tough match as expected as we had a very short time to come off the huge loss at the weekend in Jos. That loss was a huge psychological weight on our shoulders but my players did well to earn this well-deserved victory against a good side like Wikki Tourists. The win, as expected, consolidates our position on the log going into our next fixture, and hopefully, we shall do well to ensure we pick one of the continental slots for next season.”

Two-goal hero, Christian Nnaji, said, “I thank God for the goals which is for the entire team and I am happy that the goals helped us to win the match and I hope to keep doing my best in the games to come to ensure we achieve our set target for the season. Wikki gave us a good fight but we reacted well to get this victory.”

With the win, Rangers maintain its third place on the log with 51 points after 31 rounds of matches played and will next be guests to neighbors, Abia Warriors at Okigwe in a matchday 32 fixture on Saturday, June 4, 2022.

RANGERS TEAM: Nana Bonsu, Ifeanyi Nweke, Olawale Doyeni, Kenechukwu Agu, Uche John, David Chimezie, Chidiebere Nwobodo (Samuel Pam -86th Min.), Eso Achibong (Shedrack Asiegbu – 77th Min.), Chukwuebuka Okorie, Ossy Martins (Israel Abia -60th Min.), Christian Nnaji. UNUSED SUBS: Seidu Mutawakilu, Chinonso Eziekwe, Elijah Ani, Christian Madu, Philip Clement, Ebuka Anthony.

GOALS: Christian Nnaji – 14th & 50th Minute.

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