The People’s Elephants had not won away to their Eastern rivals in six years but, led by the former international, they rewrote history in style on Sunday
Enyimba International FC’s head coach George Finidi has applauded his player’s fighting spirit after the Elephants battled to a narrow 1-0 victory at Rangers on Boxing Day.
Enyimba, still unbeaten this season after three victories in the CAF Confederation Cup and last week’s league win at home to Akwa United, arrived Enugu with confidence for this season’s first Oriental derby.
Looking fitter and sharper, the People’s Elephants dominated the first half. They could have been several goals up if debutant Eze Ezekwutoziam, Ekene Awaziem, and veteran forward Victor Mbaoma had not contrived to miss the visitors’ best chances.
Both teams had chances to win the tie in the second half, with Rangers particularly enjoying a good spell after the break.
But with the clash at the FC Ifeanyi Uba Stadium seemingly heading towards a stalemate, Chukwuemeka Obioma came off the bench to net an 88th-minute winner to break the hearts of the hosts.
With two wins out of two in the 2021-22 NPFL season, Finidi could not hide his delight at seeing his charges battle to victory at a tough ground.
“Games are not won in thirty minutes. You have to fight; you have to work towards winning the game throughout the ninety minutes,” the 1994 Afcon winner told the club’s official website after the encounter.
“My players did their best, kept pushing until we had that goal. We would have scored in the first half, Victor and others, but the goal did not come.
“In the second half, also we had one or two (chances). But they (Rangers) also did well. They pushed a bit in the second half.
“And I’m glad that at the end of the day, we deserve this victory.”
Enyimba’s win away to Rangers on Sunday is their first on their rivals’ home ground since beating the Antelopes 2-1 in July 2015.