NPFL: Rangers Put Life Back into Title Defence


Nigerian champions Enugu Rangers left it very late yesterday to see off Lobi Stars 2-1 in a rescheduled Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) fixture at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu.

The Nigerian champions had Bobby Clement to thank for the winner on the stroke of full time.

After their weekend activity in the CAF Champions League in which they scraped past Algerian side JS Saoura to reach the next round, the Flying Antelopes were less than convincing once again.

There were no starting places for Godwin Aguda and Fortune Omoniwari in the Rangers line-up while Lobi coach Evans Ogenyi listed forwards Kingsley Eduwo and Anthony Okpotu.

Daniel Etor made amends for an earlier miss when he benefited from a defensive error to score for Rangers 21 minutes into the contest.

Fifteen minutes later Etor turned from hero to villain when he upended Okpotu in his box, leaving referee Olayombo Oluwabonmi with the simplest task of awarding a spot kick.
Eduwo’s kick from 11 metres was saved by Rangers goalkeeper Nana Bonsu but the Lobi striker volleyed in the rebound before defenders of the champions could make any attempt to clear the ball.

That was the much the first half produced at a ground Rangers faithful now call The Cathedral.
The restart had Rangers pouring forward in search of a goal just to ease their worry of remaining in the bottom-four. The Flying Antelopes just could not conjure anything.

Ten minutes to time, Lobi’s Chinedu James got his marching orders for a second booking, thereby handing Rangers the numerical advantage.

Right at the death, Clement popped up with the winner with a fine headed goal off an Osas Okoro assist.
Rangers have taken their points to nine after seven matches and that lifts them from bottom spot to 16th position.

Former champions Kano Pillars ended their poor away form by scoring their first goal on the road in 467 minutes in the NPFL. Amos Gyang earned Pillars a 1-1 draw at Rivers United after Godbless Asamoah had given the Port Harcourt club the lead in the first half.

Pillars finished the last five minutes of the game with 10 men after Chris Madaki was sent off for a second yellow card.
Wikki Tourists needed an Nnaemeka Anyanwu screamer on 70 minutes to put away 3SC and earn the full points with a 1-0 win.

A stoppage time goal in the first half by Destiny Ashadi made sure Katsina United edged Federation Cup champions FC Ifeanyiubah 1-0 at the Mohammed Dikko Stadium in Katsina. The win lifts Katsina United to sixth place with 13 points, seven behind table-toppers Plateau United.