Enyimba Cage Rangers in Opening Game



*Kano Pillars, Akwa United draw 2-2 in four-goal thriller

Duro Ikhazuagbe

Joseph Osadiaye’s 49th minute strike was all Enyimba FC needed in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Super Six Championship Playoff clash with Rangers International FC of Enugu to pick the first maximum points of the opening day.

The People’s Elephant defended the goal stoutly, resisting all attempts by the Flying Antelopes to even scores. Changes made by the Enugu side gave Rangers some bite in the second half but failed to earn them a share of the booty.

Despite the opening day set back, Rangers’ Coach, Gbenga Ogunbote and captain, Godwin Aguda remain confident they will bounce back to reckoning for the league title.

“We are here for a tournament of five games but have lost one already. That naturally has put pressure on us but we will definitely make up in the remaining matches,” Ogunbote said at a post match conference.

He however praised Enyimba for their tactical discipline while admitting that his squad didn’t start off well.

“We have taken the positives from this match and will work to remedy observed weaknesses so we can remain in contention for the title and a continental ticket,” stressed Ogunbote.

On whether he is under pressure to win the title, the Rangers Coach asserted, “there’s no coach that goes into a competition not planning to win. Yes, I want to win the title but the defeat hasn’t put me under any negative pressure but is rather a motivation”.

On his part, Rangers Captain, Aguda, who also spoke at the post match conference said their error was in the poor start to the match and assured their fans that the team will get better in the remaining matches.

“I think what we didn’t get right was our slow start to the game. You can see we played better in the second half but failed to get a goal,” rued Aguda.

Like his coach, the diminutive player insists one bad result is not sufficient to mar their title ambitions.

“We will go after three points in the remaining games and at the end, we will consider our chances”, Aguda noted

In the other match played yesterday, Kano Pillars and Akwa United shared points with the thrilling 2-2 result.

David Ebuka gave Kano Pillars the lead in the 3rd minute of play in the keenly contested clash. The Promise Keepers recovered from the early setback and got the equaliser through Ndifreke Effiong a minute after the half hour mark.

The Sai Masu Gida again went ahead three minutes later courtesy of a fine strike by Nyima Nwagua. Akwa United rallied back almost immediately with Godspower Aniefiok grabbing the equaliser in the 37th minute

Lobi Stars and FC IfeanyiUbah were yet to conclude the third game of the opening day of the Playoff as at press time.