Seven-time Nigeria league champions, Rangers International F.C, Sunday, December 19, 2021, annexed all three points at stake in a matchday 1, NPFL 2021/2022 season with a 2-1 win over host’s, Katsina United inside Muhammadu Dikko Stadium, Katsina, despite playing the last five minutes of the match with a man down.
Wing-wizard, Chidiebere Nwobodo reacted well as he outpaced his marker to run onto an Ossy Martins’ incisive pass to stab home the opening goal of the encounter on the quarter-hour mark.
The host took the battle to the visitors’ half of the pitch searching for an immediate equalizer but met a well-organized defense line led by Ernest Governor and Ebuka Anthony with the goalkeeper, Saidu Mutawakilu alive to his duties to snuff out any threat.
On 35 minutes, Mustapha Salisu drew the Azeez Audu tutored side level with a precise finish to a fast-paced neat interchange of passes that caught players of the visiting side unaware.
Ugochukwu Ugwuoke, Kenechukwu Agu, Tony Eliagwu, and Ossy Martins were a constant threat to the host as the game lasted and would have scored more goals before the break but for some fine defending work from Mansoor Saleh and Habibu Yakubu.
Nine minutes into the second stanza, Ossy Martins was fed by a deep penetrating pass from Ugochukwu Ugwuoke which he guided well as defenders swooped on him to blast home for what turned out to be the winning goal of the match.
The host again raised their game after conceding with Adamu Hassan, Mathew Emmanuel, and Rasheed Ahmed pushing back the visitor’s backline but Ghanaian shot-stopper, Saidu Mutawakilu was at his very best as he punched, parried, and clutched shots aimed at his goal before he received a second caution on 85 minutes from the referee.
At the end of the encounter, coach Abdul Maikaba of Rangers said, “I am very happy with what my players did today in Katsina. There would have been more goals for us but we are glad about the ones converted that gave us the victory. It can only get better as the season progresses.”
To their credit, the security personnel on duty reacted well in leading the visiting team away from the stadium thirty minutes after the match ended as some fans reacted to the result of the match negatively just as no player or official got any bodily harm.