Rangers International F.C, the ‘Flying Antelopes’ got back to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over visiting Gombe United F.C, the ‘Savannah Scorpions’ in a matchday 17, NPFL 2021/2022 fixture inside F.C Ifeanyi Ubah International Stadium, Nnewi on Saturday, March 5, 2022.
Chidiebere Nwobodo was the hero of the day as he latched onto a defense splitting pass from ‘New Boy’, Chukwuebuka Okorie to stab home past Gideon Gambo just four minutes into the second stanza to send the few fans in the stands into wild jubilations.
The coach Abdul Maikaba tutored side was the quicker off the block in this encounter where he handed a first start to youthful Chukwuebuka Okorie while keeping the bulk of the team that earned a valuable draw in Ibadan against 3SC midweek with Ifeanyi Nweke making the cut for the injured, captain, Tope Olusesi.
As early as the 2nd minute, Nweke had cut through the opponent’s backline like a hot knife on butter to set up Nwobodo who inexplicably failed to score as Gideon Gambo made himself very big to snuff out the early threat while three minutes later, it was a reactionary save from the goalkeeper to deny Kenechukwu Agu.
The catalog of misses continued for the home side as they pressed forward for the much-needed opener as Elijah Ani, Charles Tiesso, Ifeanyi Nweke all found their efforts to miss the target by inches or draw a save from impressive Gideon Gambo as both sides retired to the dressing room on even note.
The visitors sat back as the second stanza commenced waiting to catch the host on the counter with Musa Najere, Aminu Mohammed, and Yusuf Afeez waiting to pounce on any opportunity but it was Okorie Chukwuebuka’ sleek pass that found Nwobodo on 49 minutes to score after a penalty appeal for a tripping incident earlier had been waived off by the referee.
Efforts for more goals in the encounter failed to yield any dividends as a goal-line clearance by Usman Abbas on 78 minutes and some quality stops by the shot-stopper, Gideon Gambo ensured that no more goals were celebrated.
Coach Abdul Maikaba said after the encounter, “It was a beautiful game, a fantastic game for both sides but I am glad we got the three points at the end of the match. Gombe United has shown their class with a very young team but my boys were equal to the task. We came out to win and we won. We are back to the winning ways.”
Coach Zubairu Aliyu of Gombe United said, “It was a match that we have played and lost and nothing can be done about that. We played against a great side and would have gotten a draw but for the uneven nature of the pitch.”
With the win, Rangers move to the 3rd position on the twenty team log with 28 points from seventeen matches as we await results from other matchday 17 results expected to be played on Sunday at various centers.