Friday, August 12, 2022

Enyimba’s tough experience against Ijebu United wake-up call: Rangers

The six-time champions Rangers International thrashed Bauchi-based lower league side Auwalu Baba Jada FC 4-1.

• August 1, 2022
Rangers International Football Club of Enugu
Rangers International Football Club of Enugu [Photo Credit: Sports Brief]

Abdul Maikaba, technical adviser of Rangers International FC, says his team’s victory in the round of 64 of the 2022 Aiteo Federation Cup competition was inspired by Enyimba International.

The six-time champions Rangers International thrashed Bauchi-based lower league side Auwalu Baba Jada FC 4-1 on Sunday in Abuja.

The Enugu-based side won a one-sided encounter at the FIFA Goal Project pitch.

Three first-half goals and another in the second-half sandwiched what turned out to be a consolation goal as Rangers strolled into the competition’s round of 32 with ease.

Shedrack Asiegbu slotted home the curtain raiser in the 11th minute when he met Ossy Martins’ inch-perfect cross. Chidiebere Nwobodo increased the tally just three minutes later when he was set up on goal by Ejike Uzoenyi.

In the 24th minute, Republic of Benin international Charles Tiesso leapt the highest to nod home a Samuel Pam’s well-taken corner-kick.

As stunned as the Bauchi representatives were, they grew in confidence as the game crept past the half-hour mark and were rewarded in the 38th minute.

This was when Aminu Yusuf fired past Seidu Mutawakilu from the edge of the penalty box after being left with too much space.

It happened a few minutes after the Rangers goalkeeper had stopped a penalty taken by Nazeef Shuaibu.

The ‘Flying Antelopes’ started the second half as they did the first as they piled on the pressure, making several incursions into the vital area of their opponents.

But an improved goalkeeping from Anas Hassan for the Bauchi side ensured that most of the opportunities created by the Enugu-based side did not rest inside the net.

His efforts could, however, not do much to stop substitute Julius Ikechukwu’s effort in the 87th minute which killed off any further resistance.

Maikaba said Enyimba’s difficult experience against Ijebu United a day earlier was a wake-up call for his team. Aba-based Enyimba on Saturday in Benin beat Ijebu United FC, a Nigeria National League (NNL) side, 3-1 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 ending.

The former champions had goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo to thank for qualifying for the next stage of the 2022 Aiteo Federation Cup competition, after saving three penalties.

“It was a very interesting game and the game and the difficult experience faced by Enyimba made our players to be more serious about this game,” Maikaba who led Akwa United to their 2017 Aiteo Cup triumph said. “If a team like Ijebu United could hold Enyimba to a draw for 90 minutes, it simply means that they are no easy opponents as far as the Cup competition is concerned. So, I kept drumming the message of not being complacent into the ears of my players and I am glad they listened and that was why we approached the first half with so much urgency.”

Rangers last won the oldest club competition in the country in 2018.


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