Chisom Egbuchulam scored a brace as Enugu Rangers started their campaign in the Nigeria Professional League Super Four competition with a 2-0 win against Rivers United.
Egbuchulam put the Flying Antelopes ahead in the 65th minute and added the second nine minutes later.
The encounter started on a cagey note as both sides struggled to stamp their authority on the game.
Rivers United however took control afterwards with the duo of Bernard Ovoke and Ivorian forward Guy Kuemian tormenting the Rangers defence which was anchored by Chibuzor Madu.
Despite struggling to make an impact in the game, it was Rangers who had the first real chance through Egbuchulam in the 29th minute.
The forward who finished as second top scorer in the NPFL last season with 16 goals received a pass from Godwin Aguda but Rivers United veteran goalkeeper, Rotimi Sunday, produced a fine save to stop him from scoring the opener.
The Coal City side had Nana Bonsu to thank five minutes later for stopping Ovoke’s goal-bound freekick.
With the scoreline still O-0 early in the second half, Rangers coach Imama Amapakabo introduced Ocheme Edoh for the ineffective Bobby Clement.
The change seemed to galvanise the league champions as they scored two goals afterwards through Egbuchulam.
First, he converted from close range in the 65th minute following a mix-up in the Rivers United defence and then blasted home a superb shot on 74 minutes.
Rivers United missed the chance to halve the deficit five minutes later when Markson Ojobo’s penalty kick which was awarded after Pape Ousmanne tripped Kuemian in the box was saved by Bonsu.
Chimaka Madu hit the woodwork late on while Bola Sakin failed to tap in from Gabriel Wasaa’s beautiful cross.