It was a magical moment from Rangers International skillful forward Ugochukwu Ugwuoke, whose dribbling skills saw him ghost past four opponents to lay a perfect pass for Nnamdi Egbujuo’s simple tap-in on 54 minutes that helped the ‘Flying Antelopes’ overcome hard fighting Sunshine Stars in a re-scheduled NPFL 2019/20 match day 1 encounter.
The encounter which was seen by an appreciative crowd inside the main bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu, Thursday, saw the coach Benedict Ugwu tutored side defending most part of the first stanza as the visitors pulled all the tricks in the football world but could not break down the resolute backline anchored by Isiaka Oladuntoye and Uche John.
Rangers’ defenders employed all their defensive qualities to provide answers to questions that were asked by the quartet of Anthony Omaka, Faud Ekelejuoti, Abia Isreal and Sodiq Rilwani just as Godspower Aniefiok, Anthony Shimaga and Ugochukwu Ugwuoke did well to steady the middle of the pack for the seven time Nigeria league champions.
If the first half can be said to belong to the visitors, Rangers players turned the tide in the second as the half time pep talk did the magic as they attacked in droves with Jamiu Alimi, Jide Fatokin and Sunday Abe providing cover for the Akure landlords’ shot stopper, Salihu Suleiman.
Nine minutes after the re-start, the visitors were left suckling as the magical feet of Ugwuoke left four players of Sunshine for dead as he waltz through them like hot knife on butter to set up Egbujuo who wasted no time to walk the ball into a yawning net to send the fans at the stadium into wild celebrations.
Substitutes Chinonso Eziekwe and Ibrahim Olawoyin also made their presence felt with their dashing runs and trickery but this could not help in increasing the goals tally although they had two penalty shouts waved off by the eagle eyed Bashir Salisu, the referee of the match.
Speaking after the match, Rangers coach Benedict Ugwu expressed joy over the outcome of match and said that the two teams played well.
“Thank God we won and the most important thing is the three points and not the score line. Though, we planned for the more goals but it could not come so we will keep working on our scoring abilities,” he said.
Ugwu said that he fielded new players in order to give them a taste of the action in the top flight stressing, “You know we started the league late so that is why am fielding the new players now to know those who can play in the continental. With time we will get the new players glue together and the goals will start coming.”
Sunshine Stars’ gaffer, Kabiru Dogo said he was satisfied with his players display.
He said that the players did well despite playing two matches in the league with the same set of players stressing, “You know we are working with only 17 players and we are trying to rotate so that the player will not breakdown before time. It was a good match with good officiating and the better team won so we are going home to work more on our game. I congratulate Rangers for the win. We had our chances but failed to take them while they had theirs and took it.”
Rangers now have four points from two matches played in the new season and will next play Lagos based side, M.F.M with former coach of the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Tony Bulus, leading the church team to ‘The Cathedral’ on Sunday, November 17, 2019.