It was a dominant display from the coach Abdul Maikaba tutored Rangers International F.C as they were held to a scoreless draw by league leaders, Rivers United F.C in a rearranged match day 34 fixture of the NPFL 2021/2022 season played at the Awka City Stadium, Saturday, June 18, 2022.
For the host, it was two points dropped while the visitors celebrated the one point gained as they maintain their strong hold on the summit of the twenty team log going into the last four matches of the season.
Coach Maikaba kept faith with the team that narrowly lost to Nasarawa United in Jos with the exception of Chimezie David that was serving his one-match suspension and his place taken by Uche John and the team did not disappoint in the game but for the goals that refused to come even with numerous opportunities that came their way.
The visitors were the quickest off the block and would have been ahead as early as the 5th minute when Chijioke Akuneto connected with his head a cross from Kazie Enyinnaya but his effort came off the cross bar just as Chidiebere Nwobodo was presented with an opportunity on six minutes but goalkeeper for the visitors, Ovunda Darlington made himself big enough to snuff out the opportunity.
More opportunities came the way of the ‘Flying Antelopes’ but a combination of quality goalkeeping from Ovunda and poor finishing from the host’ front men combined to rob the highly explosive first stanza of goals especially on 18, 31 and 42 minutes when Nwobodo and Nnaji missed glaring chances.
Rangers’ left-back, Bala Akintunde thought he had opened the floodgates of goals on 53 minutes but his effort was chopped off by the arbiter for a possible offside play to quiten the large number of fans that came out for the fixture.
Further saves from Ovunda for the visitors on 65, 66 and 86 minutes as well as a penalty appeal by the home side on 85 minutes after Chidiebere Nwobodo was tripped by the flying hand of a falling, Kazie Enyinnaya, but was waved off by the referee, ensured that both sides shared the spoils of the day’ fixture.
Coach Abdul Maikaba said after the encounter, “It was a very good display by my players but we did not get the result we actually worked for. I am a bit disappointed not in my players but with result we could not get. We keep fighting until the very last match of the season to ensure that we achieve our target.”
With the result, Rangers’ points haul is now 52 from 34 matches and still maintain the third spot as more matches are expected to be played on Sunday, June 19, 2022 while they will travel to Kano to engage Kano Pillars in a match day 35 fixture on June 26, 2022.