Three first-half goals and another in the second that sandwiched what turned out to be a solitary consolation goal ensured the six-time Aiteo/Federation/F.A cup champion, Rangers International F.C overcame non-league side, A.B.J (Auwalu Baba Jada) F.C of Bauchi 4-1 in a round of 64, Aiteo cup 2022 fixture.
The encounter which took place inside the FIFA Goal Project Pitch, Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, saw the coach Abdul Maikaba tutored lads take the game to their less experienced opponent that scaled the national preliminary round with a 4-0 whitewash of fellow non-league side, Klarai United F.C of Jigawa and within the quarter-hour mark, was two goals up.
Shedrack Asiegbu slotted home the curtain raiser on 11 minutes when he met Ossy Martins’ inch-perfect cross as Chidiebere Nwobodo increased the tally just three minutes later when he was set up on a goal by FIFA World cup star, Ejike Uzoenyi and on 24 minutes, Benin International, Charles Tiesso, leaped the highest to nod home a Samuel Pam’s well-taken corner kick.
As stunned as the Bauchi state representatives were, they grew in confidence as the game crept past the half-hour mark and were rewarded with what turned out to be a consolation goal on 38 minutes when Aminu Yusuf fired past Seidu Mutawakilu from the edge of the box after been left too much space few minutes after the Rangers shot stopper had stopped a penalty kick taken by Nazeef Shuaibu.
The ’Flying Antelopes’ started the second half as they did the first but improved goalkeeping from Anas Hassan for the Bauchi state side ensured that most of the opportunities created by the Enugu side did not rest inside the net but could not do much to stop substitute, Julius Ikechukwu’ effort from going in on 87 minutes to kill off any resistance from the coach Bashair Muhammad tutored side.
At the end of the encounter, Coach Abdul Maikaba said, “It was a good game as my players did not display any sign of underrating our opponents and this gave us the edge. Our opponent is a good team but we did not give them much chance to play their game. We created many scoring chances from which we were able to score four which shows that we are a scoring side and we hope to take the positives from this match into our next match and others.”
Ejike Uzoenyi said after the match, “It was a tough match but we came prepared for the result we got and I hope we are going to keep the fight on till we get the ultimate at the end of the competition.”
Philip Clement, said, “Our opponents came with tough tackles but we held out to get the win that we desired. Yes, we created many scoring chances and scored four but I believe we have what it takes to win against any team that we play against. We are very determined to do all we can to become champions of the Aiteo cup at the end of the competition.”
With the win, Rangers will next play ‘Oriental Rivals’, Heartland F.C of Owerri that defeated Benue state qualifiers, J.M Liberty, in a round of 32 fixtures on August 3, 2022, at a yet-to-be-named venue for a place in the round of 16.