It was a vintage performance from the wards of coach Fidelis Ilechukwu as they came from a goal down to completely disunite the visiting Gombe United 4-1 in a re-arranged match day 18, NPFL 2023/2024 fixture before an appreciative crowd of spectators inside the main bowl of ‘The Cathedral’, Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, Saturday, January 13, 2024.
Coach Ilechukwu did a little juggling to his last match day squad as he handed starts to Ikenna Stephen, Japhet Opubo, Agu Kenechukwu, and Chidiebere Nwobodo and the setup in their immaculate white jerseys was a delight to watch as they immediately went on the offensive and would have been up as early as the second minute but Obaje’ headed effort missed target by inches.
The chances continued to come for the ‘Flying Antelopes’ but goalkeeper for the visitors, Kazeem Yekini was in his element to block, punch, and parry all that was aimed at his goal, and against the run of play, Wasiu Alalade sent the spectators into a short silence as he stabbed home from close range on 18 minutes as the visitor’s bench went into wild jubilations.
Godwin Obaje restored parity for the home side on 20 minutes straight from the re-start as he was released by Kazeem Ogunleye and got his second of the day on 39 minutes from the penalty spot after Kazeem Ogunleye was upended inside the box. The referee wasted no time in making the call.
More goals from Chidiebere Nwobodo and Agu Kenechukwu on 65 and 84 minutes of play perfectly took the game out of reach for the ‘Savannah Scorpions’ just as their shot-stopper was the reason the scoreline was not made more embarrassing as he made two great saves to deny his namesake, Kazeem in the colors of the ‘Flying Antelopes’.
Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu, in his post-match chat, said, “I think it was a very good game if you look at the goals we scored in this match, 4-1, but, in my analysis as the technical adviser of this team, we have not come to that standard which I envisage for the team. I am worried about what we would do when more top sides come visiting if we could not bury the number of chances we created in this match. I believe my team needs a surgical operation to be at the level I want for us to achieve our set target for this season.”
Two goals hero, Godwin Obaje in his chat, said, “The victory was significant for us, especially coming from behind to win 4-1. I thank God for the victory and my two goals which I dedicate to my teammates who made it possible.”
Rangers with the win, are now on 25 points from 17 matches and may be playing the re-scheduled match day 11 fixture against Rivers United on Thursday, January 18, 2024, if sanctioned by the league organizers, NPFL, before hitting Eket in Akwa Ibom state for the last fixture in the first round of the season against Akwa United at the weekend.