The ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International F.C had to dig deep into its reserves to stop hard fighting, Mountain of Fire & Miracles F.C in a matchday 6, NPFL 2021/2022 fixture with two first-half goals to annex the maximum points at stake in its adopted home ground of Nnewi.
Captain of the side, Tope Olusesi ran to an intelligent Kenechukwu Agu’ cross to sweep home beyond the reach of goalkeeper at the quarter-hour mark while Ossy Martins expertly dispatched from the spot on 44 minutes after goalkeeper, Osayi Kingdom brought down goal-bound, Ugochukwu Ugwuoke and the referee wasted no time in making the call.
Lively, Julius Ikechukwu had come close to opening his goals account earlier on 12 and 20 minutes but his efforts were thwarted by Osayi Kingdom just as Ossy Martins saw his spectacular Cycle-Kick miss target by whiskers on 28 minutes.
To their credit, the visitors crawled out of their defensive shells in the second stanza to push for redemption with Alabi Oladayo, Adebayo Temim, and Tunde Azzez all involved in the search but the host defended well to deny them any sniff at goal with the quartet of Tope Olusesi, Bala Akintunde, Ernest Governor and Ebuka Anthony at their defensive best while Kenechukwu Agu was alive in his distributive duties to the front men.
Coach Abdul Maikaba who fielded the same starting team that earned his side a 1-1 draw in Ilorin a week back while handing FIFA World Cup 2014 star and Afcon 2013 winner, Ejike Uzoenyi his first taste of action for the season as he played the last quarter of an hour of the match, said after the fixture, “We are happy with getting three points at this time. It is so important to the team and our aspirations. Actually, the boys played well and the only area I believe we are finding difficult to come to is the playing pitch. Even though we are at home, we need a good pitch to play our brand of football because we find it difficult to play here, every time. But, we are happy that we were able to win and I hope we keep improving on this surface because, this is our home whether we like it or not, we will be playing here. Our opponent gave us a good fight especially in the second half but we held out to earn this win against a difficult M.F.M.”
With the win, Rangers move to the 3rd place on the log with eleven points from six matches behind Remo Stars and Rivers United just as their next fixture will be an ‘Oriental Derby’ against Heartland inside Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri on Wednesday, January 19, 2022.
RANGERS TEAM: Bamidele Adeniyi, Tope Olusesi, Bala Akintunde, Charles Tiesso (Seidu Adamu -74th Min), Ernest Governor, Ebuka Anthony, Chidiebere Nwobodo (Shedrack Asiegbu -62nd Min.), Kenechukwu Agu, Ossy Martins (Christian Nnaji -74th Min.), Ugochukwu Ugwuoke (Elijah Ani -62nd Min.), Julius Ikechukwu (Ejike Uzoenyi -74th Min.). SUBS NOT USED: Seidu Mutawakilu, Olawale Doyeni, Ifeanyi Nweke, Samuel Pam.
GOALS: Tope Olusesi -15th Min., Ossy Martins -44th Min. (Pen.).