Wikki Tourists overcome Rangers in tense duel
By Joshua Tekidek
Despite playing out the second half with 10 men, Wikki Tourist nicked a 2-1 win over Rangers International in a midweek fixture at the Tafawa Balewa Stadium in Bauchi.
The Savannah Elephants were not in action in the last match day due to the fire that gutted their vehicle on their way to Dakkada and were condemned to play for over 45 minutes with a man down after defender, Peter Ambrose was given the marching orders for an off the ball incident.
Drama had ensued just before the interval when Efe and Rangers forward, Israel Abia had an off the ball incident which lead to a brawl. The two were punished. While Ambrose who had earlier been booked was red carded, Abia received a yellow card.
The expulsion forced Coach Usman Abdallah to sacrifice Promise Damala for Abubakar Jibrin just before the second half started.
Earlier in the game, Rangers had appealed for a penalty after goal bound Christian Nnaji was brought down. It was not however given.
For Wikki, Nazifi Yahaya had a chance to score but he headed over the bar.
Then, Abia who played with good understanding with Nnaji had a solo run at goal but as he was aiming to shoot, Ambrose took the ball off his feet which resulted to a corner.
Another chance came calling for Abia, a former Sunshine Stars player, this time from a distance – a curling shot – which was saved by Nwabali.
With five minutes to half time, Wikki took the lead from the spot. Abiodun Thompson was tripped. Captain Idris Guda Mohammed scored.
The numerical difference forced Wikki to defend in numbers with only Thompson left upfront.
Abia had his reward, showing individual brilliance when from a through ball, he got into the box, dribbled his man, created a space for himself before putting away the equaliser. What a beauty of a goal!
Rangers Coach Salisu Abubakar seeking to press their advantage, would make three changes at a go, one of which was the goal scorer who was replaced by Esor Achibong.
It wasn’t long before Coach Abdallah responded with his own string of changes. Manu Garba and Sale Ibrahim came in for Guda and Thompson who seemed to have picked a knock.
The changes turned around the game with the home in complete dominance. They won set piece after set pieces. Rangers midfield looked like it had collapsed and the defence given away careless free kicks and corners under sustained pressure.
It was from one of the free kicks won around a promising area that substitute Sale saw his effort saved by Femi Thomas but the rebound was put away for goal by Nazifi Yahaya. However the celebration was canceled as the referee agreed with his assistant that Yahaya was on an offside position.
The last action was a corner which caused a goal area melee that Sale Ibrahim benefited from to give his side the three points.
Wikki: Stanley Nwabali, Andrew Abalagu, Mustapha Abdullahi, Ismail Maiyaki, Ambrose Peter, Salish Adamu, Nazifi Yahaya, Bright Emmanuel, Abiodun Thompson(Sale Ibrahim 64), Idris Guda(Manu Garba 64′), Promise Damala(Abubakar Jibrin 46′).
Sub not used: Ibrahim Pius, Olayinka Onaodapo, Mathew Emmanuel, Freedom Omofoman.
Rangers: Femi Thomas, Ifeanyi Nweke, Isaac Loute, Isreal Abia(Esor Achibong 60′), Chidiebera Nwobodo(Chinonso Eziekwe 60′), Tony Shimaga, John Uche, Ebuka Anthony, Godspower Aniefiok(Ugochukwu Ugwuoke 60′), Chiamaka Madu(Kenechukwu Agu 82′), Christian Nnaji(Nnamdi Egbujuo 82′).
Subs not used: Nana Bonus, Ernest Governor, Shedrack Asiegbu, Osas Okoro.