It was a hard fought but painfully lost soccer battle at the Plateau as seven-time Nigeria league champions, Rangers International F.C put up a dogged fight against Plateau United F.C in a match day 18, NPFL 2020/21 fixture but a 68th minute Daniel Itodo’ connecting header ended any dream of leaving Jos with at least a point.
Coach Salisu Yusuf had set up a 3-5-2 formation to dominate the host in the encounter that took place inside Jos International stadium but it was the host that took the lead on 12 minutes when an Oche Ochewuchi’ fiercely struck shot whizzed past a wrongly positioned, Seidu Mutawakilu for the opening goal of the fixture.
The ovation that greeted the goal had hardly receded when Godspower Aniefiok restored parity for the ‘Flying Antelopes’ on 13 minutes as a Kenechukwu Agu’ sleek pass released the lanky attacking midfielder to grab his fourth goal of the season.
Plateau United despite been stung by the leveler took the game to the visitors but it was the brilliance of Ghanaian shot stopper, Seidu Mutawakilu that kept the Tin City side from recording more goals as the first half ended on equal terms for both sides with Bernard Ovoke, Uche Onwuasoanya, Rabiu Zilkifilu and Mustapha Ibrahim all coming close.
In the second stanza, the host continued from where they left off with more attacking football but Ebuka Anthony, Traore Issif and Ernest Governor did well to contain them with Seidu always to the rescue anytime there was a slip.
Long-throw master, Daniel Itodo, however benefited from a loss of concentration from Rangers defenders who reacted late in defending a corner-kick as the left-back headed home what turned out to be the winning goal in the tightly contested encounter.
Chief coach of the Enugu side, Mbwas Mangut, said after the encounter, “We came here fully aware of the side we were playing against and we started very well but in the middle of the half we lost grip of the game and could not convert some created chances. They were able to convert their chances and carry the day.”
RANGERS TEAM: Seidu Mutawakilu, Osas Okoro, Isaac Loute (Ifeanyi Nweke – 58th Min.), Tony Shimaga, Ebuka Anthony, Traore Issif, Godspower Aniefiok, Esor Achibong, Kenechukwu Agu (Chinonso Eziekwe -58th Min.), Nnaji Christian (Femi Ajayi -73rd Min.), Ernest Governor (Chidiebere Nwobodo – 80th Min.). SUBS NOT USED: Femi Thomas, Daniel Vendaga, Ifeanyi Okoro, Shedrack Asiegbu, Ugochukwu Ugwuoke.
GOAL: Godspower Aniefiok -13th Minute.