- Published on Sunday, 11 December 2016 22:20
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By Fisayo Dairo
Federation Cup champions FC Ifeanyiubah produced a resilient performance to hold league champions Rangers to a 1-1 draw in the last game of this year's NPFL Super4 tournament.
Needing a victory to wrap up the Super4 title, Rangers went in front in the game through Godwin Aguda's close range header early in the second half but Ifeanyiubah who had lost their first two games of the tournament replied through Jimoh Oni - their only goal of the tournament.
Rangers made wholesome changes for the umpteenth time, eight in all to the side that drew with Wikki Tourists in their last match. The team's top regulars such as Chisom Egbuchulam, Osas Okoro, Chibuzor Madu and Aguda were restored to the lineup, as also Nigerian Olympic team goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel who made his only appearance of the tournament.
FC Ifeanyiubah made changes on their own especially on the technical bench where Yaw Preko replaced the departed Kenichi Yatshuashi in the dugout. The Ghanaian recalled estranged stars Tamen Medrano, Wasiu Jimoh and Kojo Baah and threw them straight in from the start.
The opening exchanges of the game was somewhat tentative but things became lively as time went on. Chisom Egbuchulam shook off Onyekachi Akakem but his square pass was caught out by Ifeanyiubah goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa.
Tope Olusesi would then cut in from the left and but dragged his effort wide before Ezenwa produced a masterful save to deny Egbuchulam from 13 yards.
The deadlock was broken inside just four minutes to the second half. Tope Olusesi's cross from the right flank was knocked down by an unmarked Egbuchulam and Aguda got to it before Ezenwa to head home from four yards.
Ifeanyiubah protested for an unlikely offside call against Egbuchulam with attacker Wasiu Jimoh booked for his protestations but TV replays showed their appeal was unfounded.
Ifeanyiubah were presented with a huge chance to equalize ten minutes after they went behind but King Osanga failed to score after he beautifully decisioned Pape Ousmane. Goalkeeper Daniel staying firm to keep out his effort.
At the other end, Rangers also had a great chance to double their advantage on the hour mark. Osas Okoro squared across the face of goal after some nice footwork but Chisom Egbuchulam could only hit the side netting.
The Flying Antelopes were punished for their profligacy moments later when the Anambra Warriors evened scores. Debutant Uche Harry's incisive long ball was raced onto by Jimoh Oni who kept his composure to finish beyond the despairing hand of Daniel.
Rangers tried hard but in vain in search of a tournament winning goal but Ifeanyiubah stayed solid to claim their only point of the tournament. Rivers United, by the virtue of their back-to-back wins against Ifeanyiubah on Friday and Wikki Tourists on Sunday thus emerge winners of the tournament with six points, Rangers finishing second with five points and Wikki Tourists third on four points.
Rangers: 21. Emmanuel Daniel 7. Osas Okoro 26. Chidiebere Okolie 13. Christian Madu 5. Pape Ousmane 12. Chibuzor Madu 33. Tope Olusesi (Bright Silas 79') 19. Godwin Aguda (Abdulafeez Awakan 67') 9. Ocheme Edoh (Fortune Omoniwari 45') 16. Charles Henlong (Osamudiamen Adun 81') 11. Chisom Egbuchulam
Unused Subs: 25. Nana Bonsu 30. Itodo Akor 23. Nnamdi Anyasodo 22. Orji Kalu 14. Chizoba Amaefule 10. Morris Enete
20. Okey Odita
BOOKED: Chibuzor Madu, Pape Ousmane, Tope Olusesi
GOAL: Godwin Aguda 49'
FC Ifeanyiubah: 1. Ikechukwu Ezenwa 30. Elu Wilson 3. Kojo Baah 5. Onyekachi Akakem 6. Eze Stephen 24. Uche Harry (Adou Blaise 71') 19. Jimoh Oni 8. Tamen Medrano 32. King Osanga (Isaac Loute 83') 7. Wasiu Jimoh (Onyebuchi Ajunwa 89') 13. Yaya Kone (Steven Isaac 60')
Unused Subs: 21. Drissa Bamba 2. Okoh Emmanuel 11. Wisdom Magbisa 31. Michael Egbeta 10. Onyebuchi Ajunwa 17. Inamoto Godwin 4. Aniyikaye Olamilekan 28. Siba Adams
BOOKED: Wasiu Jimoh, Elu Wilson
GOAL: Jimoh Oni 67'
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