Rangers stop Lobi Stars at Super Six
By Esther Egbe
Enugu side and seven time Nigeria league champions, Rangers International F.C this evening inside ‘Soccer Temple’, Agege Township stadium, put back its hope of challenging for this year’s title with a 2-1 victory over Lobi Stars in match day 2 of 2019 NPFL Championship play-offs.
Olugbenga Ogunbote made three changes to the squad that lost to Enyimba on match day 1 handing starts to Bobby Clement, Ajani Ibrahim and Chiamaka Madu to assist Michael Uchebo in attack.
After a frantic start which almost resulted in an early goal for the Makurdi side, the ‘Flying Antelopes’ settled into their stride with Chiamaka Madu leading the search for the goals with his dashing runs that confused the Lobi backlines.
A quick interchange of passes that saw Ajani release Madu with an inch perfect pass for the enterprising midfielder to work his way past two defenders and lay a square pass for Godwin Aguda to blast into a yawning net of 14 minutes.
Chiamaka Madu turned from provider to scorer on the half hour mark as he benefited from a defensive mix up between Lobi’ defenders and goalkeeper to steal the ball and rounded the stranded keeper to score.
Stunned as they were, the Makurdi side fought back gamely with Samad Kadiri, Sikiru Alimi and Samuel Matthias pulling the strings but met stiff resistance from Rangers defenders led by Ugwu Uwadiegwu, Tope Olusesi, Isiaka Oladuntoye and Semiu Liadi.
At the hour mark, Lobi Stars reduced the deficit as Sikiru Alimi jumped the highest to connect home a Samad Kadiri pin-point cross.
Lobi piled more pressure in the last thirty minutes of the encounter searching for the equalizer that was not to come as the ‘Flying Antelopes’ sat back and defended waiting for counters that came on three different occasions but was not utilized.
With the win, Rangers now have three points from two matches and will next play Akwa United who are on four points from the same number of matches while Enyimba and Kano Pillars will complete their match day 2 encounter on Friday morning after their match was stopped after 45 minutes due to a heavy down pour.
Coach Ogunbote told National Daily that it was a good game and a great win. It has restored some confidence back in the team. We hope to continue working on the noticed lapses going forward into the remaining matches.”
Captain of Enugu Rangers, Godwin Aguda added that they thank God for the victory which they really worked hard for. We hope to build on the success of today to push for more points in other matches.
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