Total/CAF Confederation cup 2019 hopefuls, Rangers International F.C of Enugu, Nigeria, continued its fine run in the competition with a 2-0 win over visiting Burkina-Faso side, Salitas F.C in the match Day 1, group B fixture decided inside the main bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu on Sunday.
Both sides were yet to settle down in the game when leading scorer for the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Godwin Aguda struck with the precision of panther on two minutes when he was fed by Ajani Ibrahim who benefited from a defensive slip by the visitors for his sixth goal of the competition.
To their credit, the visitors did not lay back to be wiped but took the game to Rangers who fought gamely to contain the sleek play of the Burkinabe’s under a very uncomfortable scotching sun.
Karambiri Ismael and Ismael Zagre were a constant treat but Rangers’ back line anchored by the duo of Pape Ousmane Sane and Semiu Liadi kept them at bay while Ghanaian shot stopper, Nana Bonsu was always alert to stop any breach.
Efforts by Ajani Ibrahim, Chiamaka Madu, Bright Silas and Ifeanyi George to have a sniff at goal afterwards were rebuffed by the back line of the visitors.
At the hour mark, Isaac Loute curled home his first in the series and the second on the day for Rangers from a dead ball situation after Ajani Ibrahim was fouled at the edge of the box to send the over five thousand spectators into raptures celebrations after substitute, Bobby Clement had shot wide on 54 minutes with only the goalkeeper at his mercy.
In the dying moments of the encounter, Bobby Clement wasted another golden opportunity to increase the tally as he watched in awe as his shot flew over the bar after he was fed by Godwin Aguda on 88 minutes.
Coach Olugbenga Ogunbote told Rangersintfcmedia after the encounter, “It was a very good game we had today but for the missed opportunities. It can only get better as we continue to build the team. The win is very good and put us in a better stead to confront our next opponent. No doubt, the weather affected us a lot especially with our playing equipment and we hope to be better prepared next time as we have not had a game under the hot sun for a long while. No doubt, the North Africans knows a lot about the politics of the game but we are not scared having two Tunisian sides in our group.”
Leading scorer for Rangers, Godwin Aguda said, “I give God all the glory for my sixth goal in the competition and the victory for the team. We hope to improve on our performance as we trade tackles with other teams in the group as we hope to become the first club to win the competition in the country.”
Coach Ladji Coulibally who spoke through an interpreter said that his wards did well on the pitch but were not lucky to have scored stressing, “Rangers is a good side. They were better today and deserve their win. We played well but were unlucky not to have scored. I believe we we shall come out victorious in our next match.”
Captain of Salitas F.C, Ismael Zagre said, “We fought a good fight and despite that, we lost. I believe that we will be lucky next time.”
RANGERS STARTING TEAM: Nana Bonsu, Tope Olusesi, Isaac Loute, Solomon Okpako (Tony Shemaga -85TH Min.), Semiu Liadi, Pape Ousmane Sane, Bright Silas, Ajani Ibrahim (Pascal Seka 79th Min.), Chiamaka Madu, Godwin Aguda, Ifeanyi George (Bobby Clement -44th min). SUBS NOT USED: Femi Thomas, Kelvin Itoya, Adubi Akpos, Chidera Ezeh.
GOALS: Godwin Aguda -2nd minute, Isaac Loute -60th minute.
REFEREE: Bakary Papa Gasama – Gambia