Seven time Nigeria league champions, Rangers International F.C were stunned by MFM FC as they succumbed to a shock 1-0 home after conceding a late first half goal in a match day 3, NPFL 2019/2020 fixture.
In a match that saw the Rangers gaffer, Coach Benedict Ugwu wring as much as five changes to his re-scheduled match day 1 squad three days back, the ‘Flying Antelopes’ got up to a flying start with an attack led by Ifeanyi George causing the visitors a lot of worries.
To their credit, the coach Tony Bulus’ backline ably marshaled by Joshua Akpudje and Kabiru Moshood stood their ground to soak up all pressures thrown at them while looking to catch the host on the counter through lone striker, Adeniji Adewole.
As early as the 8th minute, the visitors showed its intent as a quick counter was snuffed out by a diligent Anthony Shimaga after a corner kick was wasted by the home side.
Rangers’ quartet of Ugochukwu Ugwuoke, Ibrahim Olawoyin, Chinonso Eziekwe and Ifeanyi George continued to probe for more cracks at the back of the visitors but it was hard to find which gave rise to shooting from outside of the box that failed to worry goalkeeper, Folarin Abayomi on most occasions.
In the last ten minutes of the first half, Rangers did well to create three scoring chances that fell for Olawoyin on 35 minutes and Eziekwe on 37 and 43 minutes but were wasted and in a counter, the visitors got the only goal of the match as a Kenedinum Chucks’ curly shot from the edge of the box sneaked into the far corner of the net on 44 minutes.
All efforts by the CAF Confederation cup 2019/2020 hopefuls to turn the tide proved abortive as the visitors soaked up all that was thrown at it especially in the last quarter-hour of the encounter that saw substitutes, Godspower Aniefiok and Sadick Abass turn the screw in.
It would have been worse for the host after Adeniji set up Ogwu Clement after dusting off Nwokeji but Mutawakilu gathered the glancing header on 78 minutes.
To cap a real bad day in the office when mother luck deserted the ‘Flying Antelopes’ fold, a glancing header by Ifeanyi George beat everybody but the cross bar came to the rescue of the visitors on 90 minutes.
Coach Ugwu of Rangers managed to say after the home loss, “This was not what we worked for. It was a bad day and luck was not on our side today. We hope to rise from this defeat and get better in subsequent matches.”
Captain of the side, Tope Olusesi, said, “Football is a funny game. We did the playing today, failed to convert chances created and the only one that came their way, they scored. That is the game for us. It is a painful loss.”
Rangers will on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 trade tackles with Rivers United in a match day 4 fixture of the NPFL at Yakubu Gowon stadium, Elekahia, Port-Harcourt, Rivers state and will be looking to redeem its image in that encounter.
RANGERS TEAM: Seidu Mutawakilu, Tope Olusesi, Chiemeka Nwokeji, Anthony Shimaga, Uche John, Isiaka Oladuntoye, Ibrahim Olawoyin (Dauda Madaki -65th Min.), Chinonso Eziekwe (Godspower Aniefiok -57th Min.), Ifeanyi George, Chiamaka Madu, Ugwuoke Ugochukwu (Abass Sadick -75th Min.). SUBS NOT USED: Femi Thomas, Isaac Loute, Akpos Adubi, Kehinde Adedipe.