Former continental and seven time domestic league champions, Rangers International F.C are still at a loss how they managed to surrender a two first half goal lead in a match day 14 NPFL fixture away to host’ and top flight debutants, Go-Round F.C at the KrisDera Hotel stadium, Omoku at the weekend.
Attacking sensation, Ifeanyi George, who is gradually getting vack his cutting edge as the arrow head in attack for the ‘Flying Antelopes’ shot the visitors into an 8th minute lead with a sublime free kick from the edge of the box after goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali infringed on a rule of the game.
Despite taking the lead, the perennial champions of the Nigerian league, Rangers, were on the back foot most times with Tope Olusesi working himself to the limit with timely tackles, blocks and over-lapping runs as the duo of Nelson Esor and Adelani Adeseun tried using his wing to penetrate.
Rangers’ got the reward for resolute defending with an eye for the counter as a move that started with Christian Madu locating Ugonna Anyora at the centre cycle whose penetrating pass finding the fleet footed Chiamaka Madu who drifted to the left and released Ajani Ibrahim whose inch perfect cross found Ifeanyi George to nod past a diving Nwabali for his second of the day on 25 minutes.
When both sides returned for the second stanza, the visitors continued from where they left off and would have increased the tally on 48 minutes but George could not connect well a Chiamaka Madu’ cross with only the goalkeeper at his mercy.
Coach Ngozi Elechi, who had brought in Shedrack Oghali for mis firing Adelanu Adesina as the first half was coming to an end got a lifeline on 61 minutes as constant pressure from his wards yielded dividend as Okon Oton netted his fourth goal of the season as Rangers defenders were caught napping and could not clear their lines after Ghanaian shot stopper, Nana Bonsu, had stopped a fierce shot by Worlu Stanley.
The come-back was complete in added time as the referee pointed to the spot after Tope Olusesi was adjudged to have stopped goal bound Oghali Shedrack unprofessionally and ‘Man-mountain’, Azu Chile stepped forward to send Bonsu the wrong way to the relief of fans of the home side while the visiting team’ supporters, bench and club officials rued what would have been another win on the road.
Coach Olugbenga Ogunbote in his post match chat said, “This is two points lost for us despite the fact that we played a good game. A little loss of concentration gave us out but I thank God for the one point even though, it would have been better with a win. We continue to work on the team as we still have a long way to go in the league and our set target is still within reach.”
Captain of the Enugu side, Okechukwu Odita said, “We just gave away this game with our own hands. This was a game we would have won but all the same, we thank God for the one point earned.”
Coach Ngozi Elechi in his submissions after the match said, “It was a good game but we gave away two cheap goals that put my players under pressure. Not to forget that the players were playing to top teams in a space of four days which made the players fatigued. This was one point gained taking into consideration that we came from a losing position to earn a draw.”
GO-ROUND TEAM: Nwabali Stanley, Akubundu Ebuka, George Vincent, Chukwu Maurice (Obinna Bassey -64th min.), Azu Chile, Onyirimba Odinaka, Nwachukwu Solomon, Nelson Esor, Okon Oton, Worlu Stanley, Adelanu Adesina (Oghali Shedrack -45th min.), SUBS NOT USED: Obiowu Victor, Ogunjobi Akinwale, Udeh Chinonso, Ukwu Obinna, Essien Reuben.
GOALS: Okon Oton – 61st Minute, Azu Chile 90+3 Minutes (Penalty).
RANGERS TEAM: Nana Bonsu, Tope Olusesi, Isaac Loute, Christian Madu, Okey Odita, Chibuzor Madu, Bright Silas (Jonathan Richard -84th min.), Ajani Ibrahim, Ifeanyi George (Kelvin Itoya -90th min.), Ugonna Anyora, Chiamaka Madu (Pape Ousmane -66th min.), SUBS NOT USED: Femi Thomas, Salau Ibrahim, Adun Osamudiamwen, Abu Azeez.
GOALS: Ifeanyi George – 8th & 25th minutes.
REFEREE: Afolabi Maroof – Kwara state.