It was a very disciplined display from the wards of coach Fidelis Ilechukwu as they fought gamely to stop the seeming dominance of neighbors, Abia Warriors F.C in match day 30, NPFL 2023/2024 encounter that took place inside Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, Tuesday, April 16, 2024, as the ‘Flying Antelopes’ ran away with a 3-2 victory.

The host took an early lead as Isaac Saviour’s struck free kick from the edge of the box proved too hot to handle for Sharp Uzoigwe on 6 minutes just as the wards of reigning LBA Manager of the Month for March 2024, increased the tempo, seeking to harvest more goals.

At 12 minutes, the club’s leading scorer, Godwin Obaje failed to convert from the spot his effort came off the crossbar as the visitors’ bench heaved a sigh of relief while the host’ bench and the large crowd of fans that came out for the match, stood in disbelief.

More opportunities came for the likes of Nwobodo Chidiebere, Godwin Obaje, and Kazeem Ogunlaye to increase the tally but their efforts missed the target while the visitors restored parity in the second minute of the first half added on time when Sunday Megwo nodded home a Meme Okike’ inviting cross as both sides retired to the locker room on even terms.

Coach Ilechukwu made a double substitution at the start of the second stanza, throwing in the duo of Ugwueze Chinemerem and Okorie Chiedozie for Kalu Nweke and Chidiebere Nwobodo and it brought out instant effect as the visitors were pushed back further and three minutes into the second stanza, Kazeem Ogunlaye curled in from the edge of the box, a free kick that Uzoigwe had no answer.

Okorie made his entry count on 62 minutes when he gently chipped the ball over on-rushing, Uzoigwe after benefiting from a defensive mix-up.

The host carved out more scoring chances in the game. Still, poor marksmanship robbed the game of more goals from the table-topping side until a moment of brilliance saw substitute for the visitors, Pascal Nwabueze, blast home in the second minute of the second half added on time to earn the coach Bethel Oji tutored side a more respectable score line.

Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu at the post-match interview session, said that the three points mattered most at this point of the season even when his wards could have done better on the day, stressing, “It was a good game going by the result as the three points matter a lot at this time of the season but we made a lot of errors and could have buried the game in the first half. We shall keep working on the noticed lapses to make necessary corrections before our next fixture. We remain positive going into the weekend’s encounter against continental side, Rivers United.”

Also speaking after the entertaining encounter, Man-of-the-Match, Isaac Saviour, said, “I feel very excited. I think that for some time I was out injured and coming back and got a chance to start a game and score against Katsina, I had it in mind that I had to continue scoring if at all, I wanted to make an instant impact in my team. I am very happy scoring against Abia Warriors after scoring in Katsina and I hope it goes on like that. It is always a joy to be selected as the man of the match and I feel excited and hopefully, more will come.”

With the victory, Rangers maintain its stay at the prime position of the twenty teams log with 54 points from 30 matches and will at the weekend trade tackles with Rivers United in a match day 31 fixture in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State on Sunday, April 21, 2024.








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