Three second-half goals by coach Abdul Maikaba’s wards inside the ‘Nest of Champions’, Godswill Akpabio International stadium helped the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International F.C outsmart their host, Akwa United 3-0 in a matchday 18, NPFL 2021/2022 fixture for their third win on the road.
After a first stanza that saw the home side creating more opportunities to score but met a superlative, Seidu Mutawakilu who stood between the Ali Jolomi tutored side and goals as Wisdom Fernando, Adam Yakubu, and Austin Osayande combined well in the early part of the game but met stiff resistance from the Ebuka Anthony and Uche John defensive combination.
After absorbing all the early raids from the home side, Kenechukwu Agu was set up by Chidiebere Nwobodo on 20 minutes but the midfielder’ shot missed the target by whiskers just as Ezekiel Leo was set up at the other end for the host on 32 minutes but Ghanaian shot-stopper was at his best to beat out the effort as both sides retired to the dressing room on equal terms.
Samuel Pam’ volleyed shot from the edge of the box found its way past a stranded Jean Efala on 54 minutes to send the bench of the visiting team into wild celebrations while Chidiebere Nwobodo scored the second goal in the 69th minute as he ran onto a Kenechukwu Agu pass and dribbling past a sea of tackling legs to fire into the far corner after he had hit the crossbar a few minutes earlier in a similar fashion.
As stunned as they were, the host fought on to reduce the tally but it was not going to be their day as the lanky Seidu Mutawakilu stood between them and goal just as substitute, Shedrack Asiegbu calmly finished a good team build-up as he ran onto an Ejike Uzoenyi’ defense splitting pass to stab home the third goal on 90 minutes after missing a similar opportunity two minutes earlier.
Coach Abdul Maikaba said after the match, “It was a good match which we came here to win and got the win but I wished it was another team we beat in their home like this and not Akwa United as I still feel a part of me here in Uyo. They gave us a good fight but we had our plans coming into this game and it worked well for us. No doubt, the pitch helped us to carry out our plans and I am happy we got the win today to keep us within a distance from the pacesetters on the log.”
Samuel Pam, who scored the first goal said, “I sincerely thank God for the win and for my goal. It was a difficult match but we dug deep into our plans to come out with this sweet victory.”
Kenechukwu Agu on his part, said, “It was a good match and we gave our all to earn this big win. Our opponents did their best but it was not their day. We thank God for this win and we give Him all the glory.”
With the win, Rangers have climbed back to the 3rd position on the twenty-team log with 31 points from eighteen matches and will next play Lobi Stars in a matchday 19 fixture to end the first stanza of the league.