With a highly rated draw against the defending champions and nine-time league winners, Enyimba International FC, Rangers International FC Technical Adviser Fidelis Ilechukwu has restated that the team actually went for an upset against the host.
Recall that the Flying Antelopes forced the Peoples Elephant to a 1-1 stalemate for the 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) Match Day 15 at Enyimba International FC Stadium in Aba.
The Peoples Elephant failed to make their dominance in the game count as they could only secure a point from the game.
Chijioke Mbaoma put the defending champions ahead in the 12th minute of play but failed to increase the tally until Kazeem Ogunleye brought the Flying Antelope level in the 87th minute.
A widely traveled Ilechukwu, who has an enviable record of coaching four Premier League sides (MFM FC, Heartland of Owerri, Plateau United FC, and now Rangers), boasted that the Oriental derby would have swung in their favor, adding that Enyimba International was only lucky to pick up a point.
Ilechukwu noted that his players gave their best to deserve the maximum points but decried their inability to win the game in the closing stages.
The tough coach, however, commended the team for their outstanding performances at keeping the Enyimba International players at bay and for a spirited fight against the defending champions.
Ilechukwu added that the team would hence utilize the advantage in their next game.
"It was a great game. Enyimba showed quality in the first half, and we showed ours in the second half.
``I think Enyimba was lucky in today's game. It was a game we could have gotten three points, but at the end of the day, we go with a point, and that's football for you.
"It's painful that players don't have that understanding to make decisions. We will keep on giving him confidence that he can do it because he has the ability.
``We are happy because playing against a big team like Enyimba. They are a big team and a continental team that has so much pedigree.
``We will go home and have this advantage to be able to fight and win our next game,'' he said.
The assistant coach of Enyimba International, Yemi Olarenwaju, on his part, said he was sad about the way things went awry during and after the match.
Olanrewaju further expressed regrets that the team failed to get the maximum points against Rangers International.
The assistant gaffer revealed through his social media handle that the game was supposed to have ended in the first half.
"A game that would have been walloped and ended in the first half ended in a draw; it's been a long time I got angry like this after a game.