Coach Gbenga Ogunbote

Fred Edoreh

Handler of Shooting Stars, Gbenga Ogunbote, is a happy man at the moment. He is happy because his game plan to attack NPFL leader, Enugu Rangers paid off last Saturday to pick all the three points at stake in the Match-day 35 clash at the Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan.

He insisted shortly after the 2-1 win that the high tempo of the game was expected given that the Flying Antelopes came to Ibadan in search of an away win or draw to shore up their hope for the crown while Shooting was also in desperate need for a win to steer away from relegation.

“The tempo of the game was expected. These are two traditional teams with huge pride to stake and the confrontation became keener as Rangers want to consolidate while Shooting is fighting to avoid the drop.

“We planned to attack and it could be seen that they also planned to attack. We were lucky to have converted our chances when they came and you could see that they fought harder towards the end of the game.”
Two quick goals in the second half of the game rebuffed Rangers charge to snatch a possible away point to consolidate on their lead.

It was a high stake, arguably, ill-tempered match which produced a red card for each side and four yellow cards, Shooting did all the probing but Rangers stood sturdy in defence with Okey Odita making important clearances for the visitors to keep scores even in the first half.

The Ibadan boys promptly unlocked Rangers defence early at the resumption of play with Ajani Ibrahim jabbing in from a goal mouth situation resulting from a corner kick in 47th minute.

They kept on the pedal and pressured the Rangers to concede a penalty four minutes later and Ifegwu Ojukwu shot it in to keep the hosts two goals up while the offender and captain of Rangers, Chibuzor Madu was sent off.
Even with one man down, Rangers charged back at the hosts forcing them into frantic defence and a blunder which earned Moses James a red card to leave both sides with ten men apiece.

Rangers doggedness paid off in the 81st minute as Chisom Egbuchulam pulled one back with a low stretcher that left Emma Fabiyi in goal for Shooting no chance for any heroics. But it came too late to earn the Enugu team any chance to salvage a point from the road trip to the Oyo State capital.

RESULTS
Rivers Utd 3-1 W’Wolves
Shooting 2-1 Rangers
IfeanyiUbah 2-0 Akwa Utd
Tornadoes 1-0 Enyimba
Nasarawa 2-1 Wikki
Sunshine 3-1 Plateau
Ikorodu 4-1 Pillars
MFM FC 3-1 Lobi

TABLE
Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Rivers Utd 33 18 2 13 36 27 9 56
Rangers 33 15 9 9 45 36 9 54
Ifeanyiubah 33 15 8 10 35 30 5 53
Wikki 33 14 9 10 42 27 15 51
Sunshine 33 13 11 9 43 33 10 50
Lobi Stars 34 14 7 13 37 34 3 49
Enyimba 32 14 7 11 31 28 3 49
Nasarawa 33 16 1 16 38 37 1 49
Pillars 33 14 6 13 45 38 7 48
Akwa Utd 34 13 7 14 42 42 0 46
Tornadoes 33 14 3 16 36 38 -2 45
El-Kanemi 32 14 3 15 35 37 -2 45
Plateau Utd 33 12 9 12 31 34 -3 45
3SC 33 13 5 15 39 45 -6 44
MFM FC 33 11 8 14 34 37 -3 41
Wolves 33 10 9 14 26 36 -10 39
Abia Warriors 32 9 11 12 28 36 -8 38
Heartland 32 9 10 13 21 28 -7 37
Ikorodu Utd 32 6 11 15 28 49 -21 29
Giwa FC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0