February, 21 2022.
By Norbert Okolie.
A 62nd-minute goal by Nyima Nwangwa condemned former league champions, Rangers International F.C to its third loss of the season, and very first on the road as the ‘Flying Antelopes’ surrendered all points at stake to Rivers United F.C in a matchday 14, NPFL 2021/2022 season fixture.
The encounter which took place inside the main bowl of Adokiye Amesiamaka sports complex, Omagwa, Rivers state, saw coach Abdul Maikaba stick to the squad that dispatched Nasarawa United mid-week with the exception of the duo of Ifeanyi Nweke and Chidiebere Nwobodo who started from the bench.
Rivers United dominated proceedings early in the game with Ishaq Kayode, Nyima Nwangwa and Uche Onwuasoanya. Pulling strings upfront but Rangers’ backline led by Tope Olusesi showed class and character to absolve all that was thrown at them while goalkeeper Seidu Mutawakilu, was alive to his duties to deny the host three clear opportunities in the first half.
When both sides returned from the break, the home side pushed more for the curtain-raiser while the visitors continued their neat defending until the 62nd minute when Nwangwa who seemed to be in an offside position, reacted faster to stab home a rebound off a Maurice Chukwu’ free-kick, from the edge of the box that crashed onto the upright and helped on by Chijioke Akuneto’ follow-up that was parried by Mutawakilu onto the part of the lanky forward.
Late pressure by the visitors for the leveler failed to yield much dividend as the coach Stanley Eguma tutored side held on to earn the maximum points that took them back to the summit of the log while Rangers remain in the 3rd position barring the result of the Lobi Stars vs. Remo Stars encounter that was moved to Thursday, February 21, 2022.
Captain of the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Tope Olusesi rued the loss but promised that the team would work its way back to the top stressing, “It was a good game we had against Rivers United but sadly we lost. Notwithstanding, we still made efforts and commitments to do well in our next away game and it is the beginning of good things for us.”
Rangers will play next against Kano Pillars in a matchday 15 fixture at their adopted home ground of F.C Ifeanyi Ubah Stadium, Nnewi on Sunday, February 27, 2022.
RANGERS TEAM: Seidu Mutawakilu, Tope Olusesi, Bala Akintunde, David Chimezie (Ernest Governor -58th Min.), Olawale Doyeni, Kenechukwu Agu, Christian Madu (Odera Onyeyiri -80th Min.), Elijah Ani, Julius Ikechukwu (Daniel Vendaga -73rd Min.), Samuel Pam, Christian Nnaji (Chidiebere Nwobodo -58th Min.). SUBS NOT USED: Nana Bonsu, Uche John, Chinonso Eziekwe, Ejike Uzoenyi, Ifeanyi Nweke.