A 67th-minute strike from substitute Isreal Abia ensured that Enugu Rangers took maximum points against Akwa United on Sunday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium Enugu.
Rangers coach Salisu Yussuf made three changes to the side that lost 1-0 to Rivers United last Wednesday as Christian Nnaji, Ernest Governor, and Ifeanyi Nweke were all given a chance to impress.
The match had little clear cut chances in the 1st half except for the 15th minute when Ernest Governor found himself free at the back post and conjured a powerful header which looked destined to end up in the net but for Akwa United’s Cameroonian goalkeeper Jean Epala who parried the ball over the bar.
Epala once again rescued Akwa United in 1st half stoppage time when he saved a finely curled free-kick from substitute Dauda Madaki who had only been on the pitch for some minutes after replacing the injured Ibrahim Olawoyin.
The second half started with both sides making substitutions. Akwa United brought in Mfon Udoh while Rangers brought in Ugochukwu Ugwuoke and Isreal Abia.
These substitutions proved to be the difference as Ugwuoke started the move which led up to the goal as he picked up a loose ball from his own half and sent a through pass wide to Ifeanyi Nweke who in turn delivered a good ball into the penalty box.
The Akwa United defence failed to clear the ball properly which fell nice unto striker Isreal Abia who made no mistake in scoring
The match-winner in the post-match interview said, “I am happy to have scored today and opened my account for the season. I hope to score more goals this season than last season and I also hope we win the league this year.”
Rangers coach, Salisu Yusuf celebrated the victory saying, “It was a very tough game against a well-structured Akwa United side but we showed a lot of courage and mental strength to dig deep and get the goal. I am also very pleased with the substitutes today who showed plenty of character especially Isreal Abia. I am quite sure he [Isreal] will have a great season.”
His opposite number Kennedy Boboye lamented the loss saying, “Today we were unlucky not to get anything from the match. We played very well but once again didn’t take our chances. But that is football for you. We have to go back and re-strategize and I am confident we will start getting three points soonest.”
Vanguard News Nigeria