Rangers International of Enugu continued their winning streak at home as they recorded their third home victory in a row with a hard-fought 1-0 over table-toppers Kwara United in the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, Matchday 11 encounter at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu.
The visitors started the game in a bright note and nearly got a penalty in the 5th minute when winger Mohammed Lawal was brought down inside the 18 yard box by Rangers’ centre back Uche John but the Centre Referee overlooked their appeal for a penalty call.
The game was going through a difficult spell for Rangers before captain of the day, Chiamaka Madu came through inside the box with a tap-in finish to give the Flying Antelopes the lead in the 30th minute.
Rangers continued to press on for the second goal and nearly got it when Christian Nnaji thought that he had scored to double his side’s lead but the goal was ruled out for offside on the stroke of halftime.
The visitors came alive in the second half and they nearly leveled the scoreline in the 50th minute through Jude Stephen but his long range strike went just over the crossbar.
Jude Stephen nearly leveled the scores for the visitors with a long range strike which goalkeeper Femi Thomas beaten but was denied by the crossbar.
Substitute Dabani nearly won his side a point in the 85th minute but Rangers held on to pick maximum points with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Kwara United at the Cathedral.
In the post match conference, Rangers coach Salisu Yusuf said he is happy with his team’s performance.
“Yes, it was a very tough and competitive game, you could see in the first half that we never gave them steps to play,” Yusuf said.
“But in the second half we started with a highline because we made some changes to the team and you know it’s not easy to maintain such energy for 90 minutes but the most important thing is the result and I’m happy with the team performance.
“Kwara United have a very good youthfull team and I think that they can spring up surprises in the league.”
The victory move Rangers up to fourth place on 20 points, just a point behind leaders Kwara United, who still maintained their place at the top with 21 points but have now played two more games than 2nd-placed Enyimba who have the same number of points.
In other NPFL Matchday 11 games played today across eight centres in the league.
FC Ifeanyi Ubah picked up all maximum three points after they thrashed Katsina United 3-0 in Nnewi while 11th-placed Heartland FC continued their run of good form after they held Sunshine Stars to a 1-1 draw at the Sports Complex Stadium, Akure.
Pascal Eze gave Heartland the lead in the first half but Sadeeq Yusuf scored Sunshine Stars equalizer in the 71st minute from the spot to cancel out Eze’s opener.
NPFL21 Matchday 11 Results
MFM FC 2-0 Adamawa United
Sunshine Stars 1-1 Heartland FC
Abia Warriors 4-1 Warri Wolves
Rangers 1-0 Kwara United
Lobi Stars 1-0 Kano Pillars
FC Ifeanyi Ubah 3-0 Katsina United
Jigawa Golden Stars 1-0 Nasarawa United
Copyright 2020 The Athletic NG. Permission to use this article or any part of it is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.theathletic.com.ng as the source.