Ekwueme Tico/Select pre-season Tourney Day 2 Wrap: Heartland, Abia Warriors, Rangers secure first wins

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Heartland on Tuesday defeated Rivers United FC 2-0 in the opening fixture of the Tico/Select Pre-season Tournament Group B match at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri.

Jonas Emmanuel opened scoring with a superb finish in the 19th minutes of the first half to put the Naze Millionaires in the driver’s seat after Chibuike Nwaiwu dispossessed Rivers United’s defence of the ball at the edge of the box.

In the second half, a penalty kick was awarded to the Owerri side as Rivers United goalie, Sochima fouled Chijioke Mbaoma inside the 18 yards box in an attempt to stop a promising attack in the 74th minute.

Peter Nwadike rose up to the occasion as he converted from the penalty spot to increase the Naze Millionaires’ tally to 2-0.

  1. In the second game in the group, Abia Warriors dismantled First Mahi 4-0, a non-league side to begin the Ifeanyi Ekwueme Tico/Select Pre-season Tourney on an impressive note at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri.

Bello Lukman weighed in a hat-trick while ex-MFM player, Imeh Atobasi completed the rout with the fourth goal.

Rivers United will face Apex Krane in their next fixture on Wednesday with an attempt to return to winning ways while Heartland FC will battle First Mahi FC also on Wednesday at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri with a huge task of securing a second consecutive win that will take them closer to the semi-final of the tournament.

In the third game played at the University of Nigeria Enugu Campus Stadium, Enugu Rangers demolished Cynosure FC 5-1 to move to the top of Group A with forr points from two games.

Super Eagles B team invitee and Rangers’ midfield maestro, Ugochukwu Ugwuoke, was at his imperious best, with four assists that led to goals scored by Chidiebere Nwobodo as the ‘Flying Antelopes’ demolished Nationwide League side, Cynosure F.C of Abakaliki 5-1 as the Ifeanyi Ekwueme Tico/Select pre-season Tourney continues in Enugu.

As early as the 3rd minute, the coach Abdu Maikaba tutored side had slid through the defense of the Abakaliki side as Ugwuoke’ penetrating pass found unmarked Nwobodo to fire an unstoppable shot past the hands of Onu Olughu while Ossy Martins outsmarted the goalkeeper and robbed him of the ball on 20 minutes for an easy tap in.

Within a space of ten minutes, Ugwuoke was alive as his dribbling skills and runs off the ball bemused his markers as he set up Nwobodo to score three quick goals on 28, 32, and 38 minutes to give the premiership side a five-goals lead going into the break.

Substitute, Femi Famuyiwa reduced the deficit by 55 minutes as the coach Festus Allen tutored side upped their game in the second stanza and could have scored two more but goalkeeper, Seidu Mutawakilu was alive to his duties.

Coach Abdul Maikaba said after the fixture, “It was a good game we had today after we ended our first fixture with Lamray United on an even note. My players were spot on and scored five goals in forty-five minutes and could have scored more but for the tough tackles that were employed by our opponent in the second half. We continue to work and hopefully, we shall get it right by the time the NPFL starts.”

Coach Festus Allen of Cynosure said, “We gave away the ball too cheaply at the start of the match and got punished by a very good side. The pep talks at halftime did the magic for us in the second half as we scored our goal and could have had more to make the scoreline more respectable.”

On Wednesday, Ingas FC will face Cynosure FC while Rangers are drawn bye with the absence of FC One Rocket of Uyo who are engaged with another pre-season tournament at home.

Ifeanyi Ekwueme Tico/Select Pre-season Tournament Results

Enugu Rangers 1-1 Lamray United

Enugu Rangers 5-1 Cynosure FC

Heartland 2-0 Rivers United

Abia Warriors 4-0 First Mahi

Fixtures of Wednesday Games

Ingas FC vs Cynosure FC

Enugu Selected vs Lamray United

Apex Krane vs Rivers United

First Mahi vs Heartland FC

Goal scorers Chart

5 Goals

Chidiebere Nwobodo (Enugu Rangers)

3 Goals

Bello Lukman (Abia Warriors)

I Goal

Ossy Martins (Enugu Rangers)

Ifeanyi Ezeorah (Lamray United)

Femi Famuyiwa (Cynosure FC)

Peter Nwadike (Heartland FC)

Jonas Emmanuel (Heartland FC)

Imeh Atobasi (Abia Warriors)

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