Niger Tornadoes 0-2 Rangers: ‘Flying Antelopes extend winning streak to five, move third on the log

Two goals within four first-half minutes off the boots of Chidiebere Nwobodo and Godwin Obaje ensured that the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International F.C of Enugu maintained its winning streak as it eased past hosts, Niger Tornadoes, in a match day 23, NPFL 2023/2024 encounter at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna on Sunday.

Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu made just two changes to the squad that defeated Remo Stars, midweek, with the duo of Agu Kenechukwu and Auwalu Naziru taking the places of Kazeem Ogunleye and Ugwueze Chinemerem in the fixture that saw the host taking the initiative and pushing the visitors into their defensive shells in the early parts of the encounter with Bolaji Adeyemo, Bashir Usman and Ikechukwu Nwani leading the assaults.

With the game approaching the quarter-hour mark, the visitors ventured forward with Chidiebere Nwobodo, Godwin Obaje, Zulkifilu Rabiu, and Auwalu Naziru dictating the pace of the movement.

On 22 minutes, Chidiebere Nwobodo latched onto an inch-perfect pass from Godwin Obaje to blast home the game’s opening goal to the disbelief of the huge number of fans from Minna while the traveling bench and officials went into wild celebrations.

Four minutes later, Godwin Obaje unleashed a canon of a shot that nestled inside the net after being set up by Auwalu Naziru. The celebrations from the visitor’s bench were ecstatic.

The host came back for the second stanza with more determination to get a crack at goal but the back line of Rangers stood their ground. Even when they were breached, Japhet Opubo was alert to deal with such situations as was the case in 75 minutes when he produced a full-length dive to punch out a well-struck free kick that was headed for the top-right corner of his net.

There was a cameo appearance for the CEO of Rangers, Amobi Ezeaku, who was registered and licensed in the last window to play for the club, as he replaced Nwobodo with six minutes left on the clock and his contributions were applauded by the fans in the stand and his coaches.

At the end of the encounter, Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu in his post-match reactions, said, “It was a good game with a great result that we worked for. Our opponent today did their best but was not too lucky as we made use of two of the opportunities created while they could not take theirs. We are on a five-match winning run and must work harder to maintain the level we are currently operating.

The win, which is the second on the road for the ‘Flying Antelopes’, takes the team to the third position on the log with 40 points from 23 matches and will next trade tackles with Kwara United in a match day 24 encounter at ‘The Cathedral’, Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu.

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