Rangers International F.C were truly at home and got back to winning ways in the matchday 13 NPFL encounter against neighbors, F.C Ifeanyiubah.
The Salisu Yusuf tutored lads ran away with a 3-1 win inside a packed Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu.
Ibrahim Olawoyin was the hero of the day as his brace set the Enugu landlords on a winning path as Kenechukwu Agu scored his first premier league goal on a day that winning meant all for the millions of followers of the multiple Nigerian league champions.
The host, took the fight to the visitors as soon as FIFA badge referee, Adebimpe Quadri signaled the start of hostilities and could have been up by three goals in the first seven minutes of the highly entertaining encounter but poor marksmanship in the third half.
Despite the non-conversion of chances created, the Ifeanyi George led attacking line up never relented even when the trio of Kalu Samuel, Anueyiagu Tochukwu and Anazie Ekene showed character in the middle of the pack for the visitors.
Home-based Super Eagles star, Osas Okoro showed the stuff he is made of as he ran down the flank to meet a Kenechukwu Agu’ defense splitting pass to deliver an incisive cut-back that found unmarked, Olawoyin who fired past Sharp Uzoigwe in goal for the Nnewi side.
Ifeanyi George and Nnamdi Egbujuo were found wanting in three different occasions that would have made the scoreline more embarrassing for the coach Uche Okagbue led side.
With five minutes left on the clock for the half time whistle to be sounded, Rangers defenders were caught napping as Ekene Awazie had enough time inside the box to react to a Samuel Kalu’ corner kick which silenced the drumming fans of the host.
In the second half, the pep talk from coach Yusuf seemed to do the magic for the host as the players took the game to the half of the Nnewi side and despite creating multiple chances, could not find a way to increase their tally until the 71st minute when Olawoyin fired a shot from the edge of the box which evaded a sea of bodies to nestle in the bottom corner of the net.
Kenechukwu Agu put the icing on the cake on 83 minutes as he reacted the quickest to a loose ball at the edge of the box after George looked to have been fouled inside the box to send the massive crowd into wild celebrations.
Coach Salisu Yusuf said after the encounter, “It was a good game from my boys but we still have a lot of work to do in converting chances created. We could have been up by as much as three goals before the tenth minute but it was not to be. After our first goal, my players went into their comfort zone which gave our opponent the opportunity to come at us and we conceded. But to my players’ credit, they raised their game in the second half and got more goals. I am glad with the start of winning games.”
Former F.C Ifeanyiubah midfielder who now appears in the colors of Rangers and captained the Enugu side, Tony Shimaga said, “We thank God for the victory today. It was tough at a point but we got back our game plan and got this win we have been looking for in so long a time. We continue from where we ended the match in the coming games.”
The win takes Rangers’ points haul in the ongoing season to nine from ten matches with three games in hand.
Rangers will on Sunday return to the continent with a matchday 4 Total/CAF Confederation Cup, Group A fixture against Mauritanian league champions, F.C Nouadhibou inside the main bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu after both sides ended their first meeting on a scoreless note.