NPFL

Enugu get the better of Enyimba in Oriental derby

A well worked team goal converted by enterprising Ajani Ibrahim on 40 minutes gave CAF Confederation cup 2018/2019 hopefuls, Rangers International F.C the bragging rights over rivals, Enyimba International in a match day 5, NPFL encounter inside a packed Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu, Sunday.
The ‘Flying Antelopes’ were are their imperious best as the quartet of Uchebo Michael, Ifeanyi George, Ajani Ibrahim and Godwin Aguda put their foot on the ground with some attacking football as soon as the referee signaled the start of hostilities in the first ‘Oriental Derby’ of the season.
In the first quarter of the game, the host had carved open the back line of the Aba side twice but Ifeanyi George’ shot from a very tight angle greased the upright on 12 minutes with Afelokhai well beaten while Uchebo shot wide three minutes later with the goalkeeper to beat.
On 23 minutes, it was the turn of Rangers’ Ghanaian shot stopper to be called to duty as he did well to beat out Ibrahim Mustapha’s effort from the edge of the box.
With the first stanza looking to end on a stalemate, ‘Baby face Fox’, Ajani Ibrahim took the risk to stab home the only goal of the match after what could be described as a team goal as Bonsu’ long clearance found Madu whose gentle chip inside the centre circle found the Ajani who beat his marker with the head and passed to Uchebo who found George to his right for the former Enyimba player to lay an inch perfect cross that was met by Ajani as Afelokhai came out late to stop the move to no avail.
Two minutes later, it could have been worse for the ‘Aba Elephants’ as Godwin Aguda watched in awe as his effort narrowly missed target with Afelokhai well beaten.
Nine minutes into the second half, Ajani thought he had scored his second for the day as his diving header connected well with a Chidera Eze’ pin-point cross but the effort was chalked off by the referee to the be-wilderment of the packed stands.
Returnee, Bobby Clement made his debut return to the side with a substitute appearance but was quickly sent for early showers with two cautions in the twenty minutes he lasted on the pitch.
Coach Ogunbote said after the encounter, “It was never going to be an easy match for both sides and I was not expecting a high scoring game as it was a derby. I believe that we are on the right track considering the fact that last season we lost our first two matches. Enyimba that we played against today was a good side but we were hungrier for the victory.”
Enyimba’ gaffer, coach Abdella said after the match, “We came for some great result but lost the match due to some slack defending. We lost narrowly and would have to go back and re-strategize for our next game to ensure that our continental target is achieved at the end of the abridged league season.”
With the win, Rangers have chalked up three points from two matches in the five weeks old Nigerian top flight and would be tackling Niger Tornadoes in a re-scheduled match Day 1 encounter at Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium

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