Rangers put up classy win over Wikki to end winless streak
By Sanipe Damiete
Rangers International shook off their recent poor run of three consecutive draws to thrash Wikki Tourists 3-0 in a Matchday 19 fixture of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium on Sunday.
Godwin Aguda opened scoring for the Flying Antelopes in the 35th minute when he headed home at the far post from a well taken set piece by Felix Ogbuke that evaded all but Aguda.
The first ended 1-0 in favour of the home team but it was Wikki that had the better opening moments of the game as they controlled and created chances but could not make their superior performance at the outset count.
Victor Alegbe set up Manu Garba through on goal as early as the sixth minute but the latter’s weak attempt missed target forcing goalkeeper Femi Thomas on all four as he was well beaten.
Three minutes later, Alegbe again found Shammah Tanze with a defence-splitting pass and the latter was one on one with Thomas but the goalkeeper did very well to stop a well struck ball that was destined for the back of the net.
After soaking the early pressure from the visitors, Rangers came out of the woods and took the initiative. Aguda missed a good cross from Chidera Eze in the 13th minute before Tope Olusesi forced Wikki goalkeeper Pius Ibrahim to a fine save after being set up brilliantly by Ogbuke.
The second half
Rangers came back from the break fired up to increase their lead and almost did two minutes after the break when a poor goal kick quickly taken by Pius went straight to Olusesi on the edge of the box but he took too much time in dribbling inside the box giving Pius the opportunity to recover with a good block.
In the 55th minute, Aguda’s low shot across the face of the post was missed by Tayo Fabiyi and Ogbuke and 12 minutes later, Solomon Okpako totally miscued his attempt when the ball met him unmarked in the six-yard box. In between Christian Madu almost scored against his team when a cross deflected off his head and almost found its way into the net.
Madu then produced a masterclass as he fired a cracking effort from about 35 yards to score the second for his team in the 71st minute. Substitute Kelvin Itoya hit the side net after a good team build up two minutes later.
Itoya who had been on the pitch for only seven minutes saved the best for the last as he scored Rangers third from a delightful free kick from the edge of the box to send the crowd into wild jubilation.
Isaac Loute made a goalline clearance on the dot of 90 minutes to deny Wikki what would have been a consolation goal.
Rangers took all three points on offer and next hit the road for the return encounter against Wikki next weekend.
Rangers: Femi Thomas; Chidera Eze, Isaac Loute, Christian Madu, Okey Odita, Pape Ousmane Sane, Tope Olusesi (Richard Jonathan 87′), Aguda Godwin, Tayo Fabiyi (Godwin Zaki 81′), Solomon Okpako, Felix Ogbuke (Kelvin Itoya 69′)
Unused Subs: James Aiyeyemi; Adun Osamudiamen, Chiamaka Madu, Chibuzor Madu
Caution: Ambrose Peter 21′
Wikki Tourists: Ibrahim Pius; Bala Zakka (Mustapha Ibrahim 79′), Waziri Christopher, Abdulkareem Suleiman Chindo, Abdullahi Musa, Ambrose Peter, Manu Garba, Abba Umar (Abubakar Umar 61′), Shammah Paul Tanze, Emmanuel Agwu, Victor Alegbe (Kalu Samuel 79′)
Unused Subs: Emeka Onyia; Giwa Isaac, Kalu Samuel, Hassan Abubakar, Elisha Ani
Caution: Femi Thomas 42′
Rangers 3-0 Wikki Tourists
On target: 7-5
Corner kicks: 6-4
Man of the match: Felix Ogbuke
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