Rangers International F.C of Enugu are in a celebratory mood following their crucial win over fellow title challenger, Kano Pillars F.C.
The Flying Antelopes registered a 2-0 win in their matchday 34 fixture inside the main bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, Wednesday.
Christian Nnaji who missed the ‘Oriental Derby’ over the weekend due to the death of his mentor, Chief Philip Chinonso Udala, reacted well to nod home a Tope Olusesi’ inviting corner-kick on five minutes to set the tone for what would have been total demolition but for some missed opportunities.
Coach Salisu Yusuf kept faith with eight members of the squad that fell to Heartland with the introduction of Tony Shimaga, Elijah Ani and Christian Nnaji in a 4-3-3 formation that dominated early proceedings with Ibrahim Olawoyin, Tony Shimaga and Ugochukwu Ugwuoke at their best just as the Rabi’u Ali led ‘Sai Masu Gida’ played catch-up.
On the 18th minute, the visitors almost drew level following a defensive mix-up but Ebuka David saw his effort fly over the bar and few minutes later, Nnaji thought he had his second of the day but his effort only greased the side netting after being set up by Olawoyin on 25 minutes.
Esor Achibong scored his first goal for the host and the second goal of the day at the half-hour mark after been fed by Nnaji off some neat interchange of passes.
Joshua Enaholo who stood between the sticks for the visitors produced two super saves on 42 and 45 minutes to deny Elijah Ani and Christian Nnaji while league legend, Rabi’u Ali watched in awe as his curly effort missed target three minutes into the added-on time.
Coach Salisu Yusuf said after the end of the encounter, “It was a tough match against a very difficult side but our early goal really disorganized them and when we got the second goal, I sensed victory. With a man down for over thirty minutes, we had to re-strategize to ensure we did not allow them to come at us as they would love. We still continue to push for a possible continental ticket at the end of the season.”
An emotional Christian Nnaji who is now on nine goals for the ‘Flying Antelopes’, said after the match, “Honestly, I give thanks to almighty God for this victory. It wasn’t an easy game but I thank God we made it. I feel very happy for the victory but at the same time, I am very sad because I lost my boss. I dedicate the goal I scored to his memory because, he worth it. May his soul rest peacefully.”
Rangers will next play Adamawa United in a match day 35, NPFL 2020/21 fixture at the Pantami stadium, Gombe