By Ikenna Nwokedi

Rangers International, on Saturday, defeated Doma United 2-1 at the Awka City Stadium in Anambra State in their opening game of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) season.

A belter from outside the box by Kalu Nweke in the 29th minute off a swift team counter-attacking play and followed by an Austin Onyemaechi tap-in inside the box in the 34th minute after being set up by Godwin Obaje gave the Flying Antelopes a two-goal lead into the break.

Bidemi Owoku gave the Savannah Tigers a lifeline in the 73rd minute assisted by Ifeanyi Ekawu to take the game to a nervy ending but the Flying Antelopes held on to take all three points at stake at their adopted home ground.

The pulsating contest was the beginning of a new era for the Enugu-based side with a new head coach in the mould of experienced former MFM FC and Heartland FC handler, Fidelis Ilechukwu.

Reacting after the match, Ilechukwu described the result as a good start for a renewed Rangers. The Flying Antelopes gaffer said he is poised to work on improving the team’s performance in subsequent games.

“I am delighted to start my campaign here with a win although it wasn’t an easy game as the tempo of the game changed when Doma United got a goal back. However, I am happy that the boys kept their composure and discipline to ease out the game for the three points. We have seen the areas we will work on and surely we will have an improved performance in subsequent games,” Ilechukwu said.

Also speaking, Doma United head coach, Akinade Onigbinde attributed the defeat to poor finishing in front of goal by his strikers in the game.

“We had a very good game today as you can see, we came back strongly in the second half after conceding two goals to reduce the deficit. We created a lot of scoring chances but failed to convert them which would have made the game different. We will go back home, work on our finishing and ensure we get the maximum points at stake in our next match,” Onigbinde said.

Match details

Rangers: Japhet Opubo, Henry Onyia, Philip Clement, Collins Ugwueze (Ejike Ugochukwu 86’), Ifeanyi Onyebuchi, David Chimezie, Naziru Auwalu (Malachi Ohawume 65’), Kalu Nweke, Godwin Obaje (Jonas Emmanuel 65’), Austin Onyemaechi (Saviour Isaac 65’), Chidiebere Nwobodo (Ifeanyi Ogba 86’)

Unused subs: Detan Ogundare, Chukwudi Nwaodu, Kazeem Ogunleye, Ejike Ugochukwu, Barnabas Ingya.

Doma United XI: Kingdom Osayi, Andrew Majalisa, Bidemi Owoku, Haruna Aliyu, Ifeanyi Ekawu, Samuel Matthew, Auwalu Abubakar, Saifullahi Yusuf, Samuel Enefiok, Abubakar Abdullahi, Thaddeus Charles Terwar.

Subs: Ibrahim Zaidu, Jerry Agwu, Zalli Abdullahi, Nelson Abiam, Nasiru Suleiman, Sani Suleiman, Emmanuel Ekpeyong, Samuel Enefiok, Adamu Umar.

David NPFL
September 30, 2023
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