NPFL: Insurance Ends Rangers’ 13-game Unbeaten Run, Now Sixth

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Rangers International FC’s Solomon Okpako (right), is challenged for ball possession by two Bendel Insurance players during the rescheduled NPFL Match-day 8 fixture in Benin City

Duro Ikhazuagbe

After the drama that enveloped the rescheduled Match-day 8 fixture of the NPFL between Bendel Insurance and Group A leaders Rangers International FC of Enugu on Wednesday, the Benin Arsenal picked maximum points yesterday with a 2-1 victory over the visitors.

While the victory has momentarily lifted the Edo team from the jaws of death in the drop zone to sixth in the 12-team Group A standing on 21 points, the Flying Antelopes however remain unshaken as leader on 31 points from 15 games.

The slip is now the second for Rangers whose 13 unbeaten run ended with the two goals scored by Junior Osaghae and Stephen Sodje at the University of Benin Sports Complex in Ugbowo, Benin City.

After the drama 24 hours earlier when the referees assigned for the match refused to turn up for the game due to what they termed ‘threat to their lives’, Junior Osaghae enliven the atmosphere with the opener in the 34th minute.

However, Kelvin Itoya restored parity for Rangers four minutes later to give the visitors from the Coal City of Enugu the hope of sharing the spoil. If Coach Gbenga Ogunbote had anyone to blame for his defeat, Seka Pascal is the fellow.

His ungentlemanly conduct of kicking an Insurance player earned him dismissal that threw spanner into Ogunbote’s game-plan in Benin in the 21st minute of the game.

And so Insurance’s Head Coach, Monday Odigie and his assistants who have remained invincible in eight home games this season can now heave sigh of relief even as they still need more work to do to avoid the team from slipping back into the danger zone again.

They even can consolidate on this win when they confront bottom benchers Niger Tornadoes on Saturday in the Match-day 17 fixture in Benin City.

Rangers on the other hand will play away to second team in the standing Enyimba in Aba. Enyimba is on 25 points from 16 games and desperately needs victory in this Oriental Derby in Aba to narrow the gap.