It was a game of two halves at Gombe stadium, Pantami in a match day 2, NPFL 2019/2020 encounter between new comers, Adamawa United and seven time league champions, Rangers International F.C which ended 1-1 with the visitors drawing the first blood.
The coach Benedict Ugwu tutored ‘Flying Antelopes’ were on the back foot for a large period of the first stanza and had Ghanaian shot stopper, Seidu Mutawakilu to thank for ending the half on a barren note after the Yola boys showed skills and determination to carry the day from the start of the encounter.
The trio of Idris Abubakar, Felix Kenan and Isa Garba were a torn in the flesh of Rangers backline ably led by Uche John and Isiaka Oladuntoye who stood firm on their duties while the visitors’ attackers of Nnamdi Egbujuo, Seka Pascal and Obinna Eleje were found wanting on the few occasions they were fed.
Coach Ugwu on resumption of the second stanza introduced Dauda Madaki for Eleje and it was an instant hit for the visitors as goalkeeper, Pwadadi Bulus stood strong to be counted on three occasions as he dived, parried and punched out Seka, Aniefiok and Egbujuo’ efforts within a space of six minutes into the second half.
On 58 minutes, the brave shot stopper could do nothing to stop Dauda Madaki’ effort as a quick break from the middle saw Tony Shimaga release Nnamdi Egbujuo whose cut back was met with a precise shot from the edge of the box for the opening goal to send the few travelling fans on wild jubilation.
Rangers missed more scoring chances as the game wore on but in a moment of indecision between Rangers defenders and goalkeeper, Sadiq Lawan sprang up to score the equalizer on 77 minutes while the duo of Chinonso Eziekwe and Dauda watched in awe as their spectacular diving headers on 88 and 90 minutes were pushed out by the spectacular Pwadadi to earn a draw for the new NPFL boys.
Coach Ugwu said after the match, “It was a good match that we should have won but for the fact that most of the players fielded today, showed signs of match rustiness. We go back to work on our weak areas to ensure we annex points when we create chances. No doubt, Adamawa United is a good side and they pushed us in the first half but we came back stronger in the second half but their goalkeeper showed class.”
Coach Mohammed Bello of Adamawa United said, “We played against a continental team and gave a good account of ourselves. Also, the referee did not do us any favor as I believe we should have had one or two penalties. For me, it is one point gained.”
Rangers will next play Sunshine Stars on Thursday, November 14, 2019 in a rescheduled match day 1 encounter at Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu while it will be the turn of M.F.M to taste the might of the ‘Flying Antelopes’ on Sunday, November 17, 2019 in a match day 3 fixture at ‘The Cathedral’.
Rangers International F.C, Enugu.