It was another splendid performance from players of Rangers International F.C who despite having a man sent off in the 65th minute defended well to earn a well deserved 1-0 victory over visiting Katsina United in a match day 14, NPFL encounter played Sunday at Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu.
Coach Olugbenga Ogunbote handed starts to west coast imports, Seka Pascal and Roland Koffi with usual suspects, Ifeanyi George and Chiamaka Madu making their way back to the starting block and the quartet were a handful for the Abdullahi Biffo wards.
A defense splitting pass from Ivorian import, Koffi freed Ifeanyi George on goal but his effort was beaten out by Super Eagles shot stopper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa but only as far as the feet of onrushing Seka Pascal to calmly blast home on 17 minutes to the celebration of the half full ‘Cathedral’.
That the game failed to record a goal before this lone strike was not due to lack of trying but for some splendid goalkeeping from Ezenwa who produced a master act on two minutes to stop an Aguda Godwin fierce shot from over twenty-five meters while some misses were recorded.
In the end-to-end exchange of fires by both teams, especially after the half hour mark, as the visitors saw two efforts by Martins Usule and Tasiu Lawal on 32 and 36 minutes well saved by Ghanaian shot stopper, Nana Bonsu, in goal for Rangers while Ezenwa was alert to make a save on 34 minutes off a Koffi Roland’ effort.
Efforts by both sides to breach the backline of the other proved abortive even as the host had to defend by the skin of their teethes to contain the visitors in the last 25 minutes of the game after Roland Koffi was sent off by the referee, Joseph Ogabor, for a second booking.
Rangers technical adviser, Olugbenga Ogunbote in a post match chat, said, “It was a very tough encounter against a quality side that came here to seek for a revenge. It would have been better for us but for the several missed opportunities we had. We continue to fight and play our game with the hope of getting more points on the road and ensure we qualify for the end of the season super-six for us to navigate back to the continent.”
Godwin Zaki who sat out the entire duration of the game on the bench, said, “Katsina United came here to fight dirty but we were much prepared for all the threw at us and we won at the end of the day. My team mates showed the stuff we are made off and I believe that soon, I will be back scoring the goals again. Our target is to get back to the continent were we rightly belong.”
With the victory, Rangers moved up the group A log to second behind MFM on21 points two less than the table toppers who lost to Kwara United and have played four more matches than the ‘Flying Antelopes’.
Rangers next trade tackles with Kwara United in a re-scheduled match day 6 fixture in Ilorin on Wednesday, April 10, 2019.
Nana Bonsu, Tope Olusesi, Ugwu Uwadiegwu, Tony Shimaga, Isiaka Oladuntoye, Akpos Adubi, Seka Pascal (Chidera Ezeh – 75th Min.), Ifeanyi George, Chiamaka Madu, Roland Koffi, Godwin Aguda. SUBS NOT USED: Japhet Opubo, Okey Odita, Godwin Zaki, Michael Uchebo, West Omodu, Solomon Okpako.
GOAL: Seka Pascal – 17th Minute.