A late strike by Malachi Ohawume for the reigning Nigeria league champions, Rivers United ensured that the pre-season friendly encounter with Rangers International ended in a draw after Chidiebere Nwobodo had shot the ‘Flying Antelopes’ into the lead on 65 minutes.
The encounter which took place inside the main bowl of Adokieye Amesiemaka Sports Complex, Omagba, Port-Harcourt, Saturday, October 1, 2022, was the first real test for the coach Abdul Maikaba tutored side in its build-up for the fast approaching 2022/2023 football season.
However, ‘The Pride of Rivers’ used the match to keep shape for their upcoming CAF Champions league second round fixture against Wydad A.C of Morocco.
Both sides gave their all from the start of the highly entertaining encounter but it was the Enugu side that got the first opportunity to have a sniff at goal when right-back, Sani Shehu was released by a Chukwudi Nwaodu but Sochima Victor provided a great save to deny him on 13 minutes while Reuben Bala’ shot on target in the 18th minute was bravely stopped by the champions’ shot-stopper.
Rangers’ teenage shot-stopper, Chizoba Okoh, produced some sharp reflexes to deny the host on two occasions as Kenechukwu Agu’s long-range shot was pushed over the bar on 25 minutes while clutching a well-struck effort from Bolaji Sarki at the half-hour mark.
Coach Maikaba introduced Michael Ibe at the start of the second stanza and his impact was felt as his pass released Inemesit Sunday on 47 minutes Sochima well gathered his shot but the young goalkeeper could not stop Chidiebere Nwobodo’s shot from the edge of the box from going in on 65 minutes after Reuben Bala had dribbled his way past a sea of tackling legs to release Elijah Ani whose effort was blocked out on the line but the ball fell kindly for Nwobodo to drill home.
Malachi Ohawume restored parity for the home side with virtually the last kick of the encounter when he was released by Temple Emekayi.