Two goals in either half of the match for the host, Abia Warriors, helped in extinguishing any fight-back from visiting Rangers International who succumbed to a 2-0 defeat in the hands of former coach, Imama Amapakabo in a matchday 32, NPFL 2021/2022 fixture.
The encounter which was an early kickoff took place inside Okigwe Township stadium, Imo state, and saw the host take the lead two minutes into the three minutes of the added-on time of the first stanza after Valentine Odoh lost his marker to plant an unstoppable header past Nana Bonsu off an incisive free-kick by Kabiru Mohammed.
Three minutes into the second half, Paul Samson increased the tally for the host after he was fed by lively Valentine Odoh who dribbled past his marker in a counter-attack move to send the fans of the home side into wild celebrations.
The visitors had created some goal-scoring opportunities in the first stanza but Elijah Ani, Chidiebere Nwobodo, and Chukwuebuka Okorie failed to take their chances, with Elijah’s miss on 45 minutes, standing out.
Godwin Obaje would have further punished the visitors at 81 minutes but his effort came crashing against the crossbar and was easily gathered by the Ghanaian shot-stopper, Nana Bonsu while Eso Achibong’s free-kick on 83 minutes missed the target by few inches.
Coach Abdul Maikaba said after the encounter, “It is shocking to have lost this encounter. I expected a good result, the worst being a draw. We began well but lost concentration at some point in the game and our opponent capitalized on it to punish us. Despite the substitutions, we did not do well to come up with the needed push by my boys.”
Coach Imama Amapakabo of Abia Warriors said, “An exciting game which we knew was always going to be like this. Like I always say, it’s always good when you play games against a tactically good side. I am happy our tactics worked out well for us.”
Rangers still maintain third place on the twenty-team log with 51 points from 32 matches played with Remo Stars closely following on 4th spot with 50 points and Kwara United in the 5th position with 49 points with Enyimba next in 6th spot with 48 points.
The ‘Flying Antelopes’ will next travel to Jos for a match day 33 fixture against Nasarawa United at their adopted home ground on Sunday, June 12, 2022.
RANGERS TEAM: Nana Bonsu, Olawale Doyeni, Ifeanyi Nweke, Kenechukwu Agu, Uche John, Ebuka Anthony (Tope Olusesi -53rd Min.), Chidiebere Nwobodo (Chinonso Eziekwe – 78th Min.), Chukwuebuka Okorie (Eso Achibong – 53rd Min.), Shedrack Asiegbu, Christian Nnaji, Elijah Ani (Ossy Martins -53rd Min.). UNUSED SUBS: Bamidele Adeniyi, Philip Clement, Tofik Omar, Israel Abia, Samuel Pam.