The Coal City ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International F.C maintained its hold on the top spot of the 2023/2024 NPFL with a convincing 2-0 win over visiting Plateau United F.C in a match day 32 fixture inside Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu that had over half of its seats taken up by fans on Sunday, April 28, 2024.

Okorie Chiedozie got the curtain raiser on 25 minutes after skipping past three markers to slip the ball past Suraj Ayeleso who had been superb between the sticks for the ‘Peace Boys’ from the Tin City of Jos as he had bravely stopped a second-minute stinging shot from Kenneth Igboke while also doing well to push out Isaac Saviour’ effort on 7 minutes.

The home side was the quicker to settle into their strides as coach Fidelis Ilechukwu opted for a 4-4-2 formation to counter his opponent coach, Mbwas Mangut’s 3-5-2 formation, and with the quartet of Ugochukwu Ejike, Isaac Saviour, Kazeem Ogunleye and Kalu Nweke dictating the pace in the middle of the pack, it was only a matter of time before the backline of the visitors carved in.

Rangers went into the break with its nose in the front and on resumption of the second stanza, the visitors upped their game but met stiff resistance from the backline of Rangers that had two former Plateau United gladiators, Onyebuchi Ifeanyi and Austin Opara.

Tried as they could with a second stanza display, it was the home side that added another goal at the tail end of the encounter when former league top scorer, Godwin Obaje dusted himself after being wrestled down inside the box as he dribbled his way past his marker in a rear counter-attack, to blast past Suraj Ayeleso on 90 minutes to increase his tally for the season to nine goals.

Coach Ilechukwu Fidelis, in a post-match chat, said, “I think it was a great one for us. I am pleased about the outcome of this game because it was a game we prepared very well for knowing that we had struggled in our last two away games and had to bounce back to give our fans something to cheer against my former team who had boasted too much about this match even before it was played. I thank God for the three points today.”

Also speaking, the club’s top scorer, Godwin Obaje said, “Before the game, we knew it was going to be difficult and we had to prepare extra hard to ensure we get the needed result to steady us in our chase for a good finish to the season. As for my goal, I had to steady my nerves to slot the penalty because it came at a tough time and I thank God for scoring.”

Rangers are on top of the twenty teams NPFL log with 57 points from 32 matches and will next take on Kano Pillars F.C. in a Round of 64 encounter of the President Federation Cup 2024 in Abuja on Thursday, May 2, 2024.



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