Rangers International inflicted on Abia Warriors its second Oriental Derby defeat as the Flying Antelopes cruise pass the Umuahia Warlords on 3-1 scoreline to secure maximum points.
The highly explosive epic encounter recorded a large turn out of fans, Enugu State government officials as well as Traditional rulers who were early birds at the Nnamdi Azikwe stadium to cheer their favourite clubs.
Former Abia Warriors sensational winger Ibrahim Olawoyin gave the Flying Antelopes an early lead in just 6mins of play.
The Winger who was unmarked inside the 18yard box had GK Charles Tambe parried ball in his way and made no mistake to gently control and slots home.
Enugu Rangers were completely put on the back foot as the duo of Fatai Abdullahi and Oghenetega Ebetomame combined well in the middle of the park to always retained and controlled possession for the visiting team.
The visiting team restored parity at exactly 12mins of play as petit Winger Anthony Okemmiri orchestrated a quick attack down the channel and it was Midfielder Oghenetega who assisted Bello Lukman for his third goal of the season as his cross into the host 18yard found the lanky striker and he made no mistake to tap the ball pass Gk Nana Bonsu in goal for the flying Antelopes.
The host with its ‘NeverSayDie’ attitude surged upfront in search of a lead before the half time break, it was dazzling Ibrahim Olawoyin who was a major threat to the Visitors defence line as he mesmerized them with his sleeky skill alongside Ifeanyi George.
The Flying Antelopes midfield maestros of Chiamaka Madu and Kehinde Adeipe outmuscled Abia Warriors midfielders to continuously spread Killer passes but all to no avail as Abia Warriors trio of Austin Obaroakpo, Parfait Jean and Adekunle Adeleke kept it all solid at the back.
Abia Warriors Gk Tambe Charles pulled a worldclass save on the 38minute as he implored good goalkeeping reflex skill to thwart Austin Obaroakpo goal bound wrong clearance to a corner kick.
The flying Antelopes got their much needed lead with two minutes left in the normal first half duration and it was rampaging Ifeanyi George who rose highest to connect brilliantly from Emmanuel Nwokoeji inswinger to head the host team into lead as the teams return to the tunnel for the half time break.
Both teams returned from the tunnel after the interval break and pep talk and it was the Umuahia Warlords who were lucky to create two glaring chances to draw level and take the lead but failed to utilise their early second half chances.
The visitors midfield collapsed afterwards and it was Maestro Chiamaka Madu and Ibrahim Olawoyin who kept the Umuahia Warlords on their toes as they came close severally to extend their lead but Gk Charles Tambe was alive to his duties.
It thus turned ding dong case as both team mounted pressures on each other’s half but lacked cutting edge upfront.
The flying Antelopes finally extended their lead as they caught Abia Warriors defence line off guard and busted forward on a counter attack, it was goal scorer Ibrahim Olawoyin who laid a sumptuous pass to the part of Ifeanyi George and the later made no mistake to fire the ball to the far net off GK Tambe Charles reach.
To crown a bad day on the field for the Umuahia Warlords, Bello Lukman goal bound effort rattled the woodwork and was immediately cleared from danger to the fans amazement.
Both teams introduced fresh legs to fortify their team but the changes could not affect the score line as the game ended 3-1 in favour of the Flying Antelopes.
RANGERS LINE UP
Nana Bonsu ,Emmanuel Nwokeji, Anthony Shimaga, Chiamaka Madu, Tope Olusesi, Kehinde Adedipe, Isiaka Oladuntoye, Ibrahim Olawoyin (Osas Okoro) , Kelvin Itoya (Dauda Madaki), Uche John, Ifeanyi’ George (Seka Pascal)
Abia Warriors LINE up
Charles Tambe, Adeleke Adekunle, Austin Obaroakpo, Parfait Jean, Anthony Okemmiri, Yakub Hammed (Emeka Isaac), Oghenetega Ebetomame, Fatai Abdullahi, Atilola Tunde (Paul Samson), Okon Otop (Amos Ogbuagu), Bello Lukman