NPFL: DAKKADA’S SPIRITED PERFORMANCE NOT ENOUGH AS RANGERS SECURE SEASON’S FIRST VICTORY
Hadu Mohammed tapped life back into Rangers’ season when he tappped a cut-back from Chidera Eze into a gaping goal in the thirtieth minute to secure a hard-fought 1-0 victory over a spirited Dakkada side in a matchday five fixture of Group B of the NPFL played at Awka city stadium, Anambra, Wednesday.
Dakkada’s response to the goal was promptly evident on their swift, brutal and high intensity attacking football which pegged Rangers back for vast chunks of the game and caused them to rely only on the breakaways.
Dakkada will feel hard done by after they were denied a clear-cut penalty in the dying embers of the first period when Chukwude Nwaodu handled Mfon Rowland’s goal-bound chip in the box with both of his arms raised above his head and completely away from his body thereby making the midfielder bigger. The incidence was compliant with the modern-day conditions for the awarding of handball but somehow referee Olabiyi Jomi waived all of the ensuing protestations of the visitors.
The second half resumed with the Chosen Ones quick out of the blocks to seize all of the early attacking initiative and take the game to their hosts, the Flying Antelopes. Isaac George should have got the leveller when he found himself unmarked at the receiving end of a pinpoint delivery by the workaholic Rowland but the diminutive forward blazed his volley skywards with the goal at his mercy.
Isaac George was at it again when he picked the pocket of Rangers defender and Dakkada old boy, Olawale Doyeni, but his header from a left-footed cross by Austin Osayande found the side-netting.
Adewale Lasisi, who came in for Isaac George, lost both his balance and composure and shot wide from within ten yards of goal after receiving a layoff from Jonathan Prosper and evading two markers.
Rangers should have put the game beyond their visitors with four minutes left on the clock when substitute Chidiebere Nwobodo raced with the ball from the centre line after being put through by former Super Eagles winger, Ejike Uzoenyi, but goalkeeper Thomas Omokhudu made himself big to deny him one-on-one.
The win – Rangers’ first of the season – takes them to seventh place, one point and two places above Dakkada who have accumulated four points thus far.
In his post-match thoughts, Dakkada Head Coach, Mr. Umar Danlami, praised the gallantry of his boys against “high quality opposition” but rue the many goal-scoring chances that his lads were guilty of fluffing.
Coach Abdu Maikaba of Rangers described the result as a watershed moment in the season and pointed out that his side has now gone three games without defeat which according to him will put them in the right shape for upcoming fixtures.
Dakkada will be hosts to Abia Warriors while Rangers will take a trip to Bauchi to face a Wikki Tourists side still in search of their first win of the campaign when matchday six gets underway in the weekend that immediately beckons.