Two momentary loss of concentration by Rangers International F.C backline was largely responsible for the 2-1 loss suffered in the hands of neighbors, Heartland F.C in a matchday 33, NPFL 2020/21 fixture inside Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, as the ‘Flying Antelopes’ chase for a continental ticket suffered a hitch.
A break in communication between Ernest Governor and goalkeeper, Nana Bonsu on 10 minutes gifted Chijioke Mbaoma enough time and space to steal between them to put the host in front.
To their credit, the coach Salisu Yusuf tutored side who had lost their all-action attacking midfielder, Godspower Aniefiok to an injury just eight minutes into the match, took the battle to the half of the ‘Naze Millionaires’, and on 23 minutes, substitute, Elijah Ani, drew the visitors level as he calmly slotted past Chijioke Ejiogu a defense splitting pass from Chinonso Eziekwe.
On 37 minutes Akuneto Chijioke once again benefited from another ‘switching off’ by the visitors’ defenders as they were caught ball watching as former Rangers, Chidera Eze’ gentle chip from a dead ball situation found his teammates but in spite of Bonsu’ spirited efforts, Chijioke buried the rebound to give the host the lead into the break.
Two minutes into the second half, Chinonso Eziekwe had the opportunity to draw the Enugu side level but his effort went wide off target with ‘Arugo Monkey’, Chijioke Ejiogu in no-mans-land.
Despite enjoying a large period of domination with the introduction of Shedrack Asiegbu, Kenechukwu Agu and Femi Ajayi, the dominance could not be turned into a goal as the host defended in their numbers to earn the win that has to a large extent relaxed their relegation worries.
Assistant Coach Benedict Ugwu in a post-match chat, said, “This was a game we just threw away by ourselves. The pitch did not allow us to express ourselves especially in the first half just as the early injury induced substitution, did not help matters. We keep working till the end of the season as all hope for a continental ticket is not lost.”
Rangers will next play host to Kano Pillars in a match day 34 encounter slated for the main bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu on Wednesday, July 21, 2021.
RANGERS TEAM: Nana Bonsu, Tope Olusesi, Ifeanyi Nweke, Christian Madu, Uche John, Ernest Governor, Godspower Aniefiok (Elijah Ani -9th Min.), Chinonso Eziekwe (Femi Ajayi -67th Min.), Ibrahim Olawoyin, Esor Achibong (Kenechukwu Agu -61st Min.), Ugochukwu Ugwuoke (Shedrack Asiegbu -61st Min.). SUBS NOT USED: Femi Thomas, Charles Tiesso, Dauda Madaki, Isaac Loute, Ebuka Anthony.
GOAL: Elijah Ani -23rd Minute.