The ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International F.C had to dig very deep into its reservoir of talents to dispatch hard fighting Dakkada F.C, 1-0 in a matchday 29, NPFL 2021/2022 fixture at its adopted home ground, Awka City Stadium, Saturday, May 21, 2022, to annex all points at stake and brighten its chances of achieving its set target for the season.
A glancing header from last season’s club top scorer, Christian Nnaji, who came in as a substitute, off an ideally taken corner-kick by Eso Achibong on 65 minutes gave the visitor’s goalkeeper, Loveday Anugbuo, who stood between the host and goals in the encounter, no chance at all in what turned out to be the only goal of the encounter.
The coach Abdul Makaiba tutored side was the quickest off the block as referee Habibu Ghali signaled the start of hostilities and would have been a goal up as early as the second minute but for the alertness of the visitor’s shot-stopper who did well to beat out an Eso Achibong well-drilled free-kick from the edge of the box after Elijah Ani was fouled.
More missed opportunities were to follow on 4, 16, and 29 minutes for top-scorer, Ossy Martins as the goalkeeper for the visitors continued to pull saves to deny the host on the three occasions while he watched in awe as he was beaten by Eso’ free kick on 42 minutes but the ball hit the crossbar and bounced off to safety.
The visitors, in one of their forays upfront as the half was dragging to an end, was presented with an opportunity but Ghanaian shot-stopper for Rangers, Nana Bonsu did well to snuff out the danger on 40 minutes.
As the match approached the hour mark, coach Maikaba introduced the duo of Chidiebere Nwobodo and Christian Nnaji for Chukwuebuka Okorie and Elijah Ani and the visitors were further pushed back and in one of the attacks, that saw Nwobodo in his massy runs outwitting three opponents but his cross was blocked out and Eso Achibong expertly delivered the resultant corner-kick that was nodded in by Nnaji.
Coach Abdul Maikaba said after the encounter, “It was a good and tough match considering the position of our opponent and our own set target for the season. The win was difficult but my players kept on pushing even when our opponent showed enough determination to stop most of our moves but I thank God that at the end of the match, we have our three points which means a lot for us as we continue to work towards achieving our set target.”
With the win, Rangers now moves to the third place on the twenty-team log with 48 points from 29 matches and will next play away to second-placed, Plateau United F.C in a matchday 30 fixture slated for the New Jos Stadium, Jos on Sunday, May 29, 2022.