Rangers see off spirited Wikki 3-2 in rip-roaring contest

By Sanipe Damiete

Champions Rangers International edged Wikki Tourists 3-2 in a see-saw rescheduled Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) encounter at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu on Wednesday.

Wikki Tourists started the brighter of the two teams as they took control of the game in the opening moments, dictating the pace and creating chances but were woeful in front of goal.

Abubakar Lawal was presented with the first opportunity of the game in the sixth minute but his header from a corner narrowly missed the target. Four minutes later, Shammah Tanze hit his attempt too high when a brilliant pass picked him out in the six yard box.

The Flying Antelopes then went ahead in the 12th minute with their first real opportunity at goal after Bright Silas and Bobby Clement had fluffed earlier opportunities. A mazy run down the right flank by Silas saw him deliver an inviting cross which Clement rose highest to head the ball behind Wikki's goalkeeper Emeka Nwabulu.

Wikki fought back with lots of enterprising displays, pouring forward in numbers to get the equalizer which left gaps in the defence. Rangers exploited and came close in the 26th minute. Nwabulu punched Ugwu Uwadiegwu's cross to safety with Clement lurking at the far post.

The Bauchi club then conceded a penalty in the 40th minute when Abdullahi Musa handled the ball in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Ifeanyi George stepped forward and sent Nwabulu the wrong way to give Rangers a two-goal lead which they protected into the break.

Wikki started the second half positively and got a penalty of their own when Ousmane Pape Sane brought down Tanze in the box. Chukwudi Samuel scored the resultant spot kick and looked like levelling things until the 71st minute when Pape Sane made amends and restored the two-goal cushion for Rangers with a brilliant header from Ugwu's corner kick.

When all felt Wikki were down and out, they sprang like bees stinging the Flying Antelopes with another goal in the 79th minute. Victor Alegbe set up Tanze in the box and he lifted the ball over Rangers goalkeeper Bassey Akpan to score and set a up a dramatic finish to a lively encounter.

Both coaches made changes and both teams came close but the score line did not change as it finished 3-2 in favour of the Flying Antelopes. Rangers will next face Sunshine Stars on Sunday in Akure as they have three outstanding matches to see out.


Rangers: Bassey Akpan, Osas Okoro, Ugwu Uwadiegwu (Chizoba Amaefule 83'), Ousmane Pape Sane, Chibuzor Madu, Bright Silas(Godwin Aguda 87'), Christian Madu, Ifeanyi George, Chiamaka Madu, Daniel Etor (Chidera Ezeh 66'), Bobby Clement

Unused Subs: Itodo Akor, Okey Odita, Osamudiamen Adun, Tope Olusesi

Coach: Chukwuma Agbo

Wikki Tourists: Emeka Nwabulu, Festus Umanah, Waziri Christopher, Harrison Madu, Abdullahi Musa, Anyanwu Nnaemeka, Richard Jonathan (Ahmed Usman 69'), Shammah Tanze, Abubakar Lawal, Victor Alegbe (Hassan Hussein 80'), Chukwudi Samuel (Idris Guda Mohammed 60')

Unused Subs: Udeh Chinedu Anthony, Mustapha Ibrahim, Muhammed Gidado, Saidu Abdullahi,

Coach: Mbwas Mangut

Rangers International 3-2 Wikki Tourists
Attempts: 11-9
On target: 5-3
Fouls: 19-18
Corner kicks: 7-3
Offside: 1-1
Cautions: 1-2

Victor Alegbe 24'
Anyanwu Nnaemeka 35'
Ifeanyi George 43'

Man of the Match: Chiamaka Madu (Rangers)

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