Rangers Held By Enyimba,ONE-Rocket In Pre-season Friendlies

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In continuation of its preparations for the fast approaching 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier League season, Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu, technical adviser of Rangers International F.C took his wards to Uyo for two preseason friendly encounters which ended in score draws at the weekend.

Playing against the reigning Nigeria league champions, Enyimba International F.C, who also used the fixture to prepare for its CAF Champions League encounter against the Libyan side in the near future, it took a late own-goal for the ‘Peoples Elephant’ to draw level against the ‘Flying Antelopes’ who took a first half lead through enterprising left-back, Philip Clement.

The Aba side enjoyed a more significant percentage of ball possession in the first half but had no penetration into the neat set-up backline of the Enugu side ably anchored around Ifeanyi Onyebuchi and David Chimezie in the heart of the defense with the troika of Naziru Auwalu, Chinemerem Ugwueze, and Kalu Nweke holding forth in the middle of the pack to supply the front men the needed ammunition to cause havoc in the opponent’s area.

A quick counterattack towards the end of the first stanza saw left-back, Philip Clement’s spirited run to connect home after some miscommunication between goalkeeper, Olorunleke and his defender on 44 minutes.

With the game heading for a win and a loss, Joseph Atule, took charge to draw his side level with a massy run to deliver a cross that evaded all tackling legs and in an effort to clear the danger, Austin Opara, unfortunately, slid the ball into his team’s net on 90+5 minutes.

In the second encounter, a very stubborn NNL side, F.C One-Rocket also fought back gamely to earn a draw from a losing position Emmanuel Onotu scored a spectacular goal on 85 minutes to cancel out Kazeem Ogunleye’s 75th-minute easy tap-in after a fine build-up play that had contributions from Chukwudi Nwaodu, Jonas Emmanuel, Leonard Ugochukwu, and Saviour Godwin.

Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu, in his post-match chat, said, “Looking at the game against Enyimba, I give it to them as they have been together for a longer period. At the same time, I commend my players for the way we played in containing them. But for the last-minute mistake, the result would have been there for all to see. We are still building and I am optimistic that we shall be ready to hold our own should the season kickoff today. Enyimba possessed more balls in the game but we created more scoring chances but took only one.”

He further said, “For the match against F.C One-Rocket, it was also very interesting as we had to feature entirely new personnel and the NNL side pushed us back but with substitutions in the second half, we took charge of the game and went ahead but a little loss of concentration gifted the equalizer. In all, I am satisfied with the output of my players.”

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