NPFL 2018 declared winners, Lobi Stars F.C of Makurdi, Tuesday inside Stephen Keshi stadium, Asaba, did well to deny 2018 NFF/Aiteo cup champions, Rangers International an opportunity of adding the Super cup to its cabinet courtesy of a 1-0 win.
Samad Kabiru was the star of the day for the Makurdi side as he profited from a slip by Rangers defense line to blast home the only goal of the match on added time of the first half.
The CAF champions league campaigners started well and could have shot into the lead as early as the second minute but the ‘Flying Antelopes’ back line did well to clear their line while some good play upfront that saw Michael Uchebo’ cross found Pascal Seka whose snap shot beat John Lawrence but not the upright on fifteen minutes.
With the game still tied at the half hour mark, defender, Akpos Adubi, found a way to dribble his way through a sea of legs to try his luck at goal but John Lawrence was equal to the task.
Late into the second half, Rangers were reduced to ten men as Solomon Okpako was shown a second yellow card by the referee on 72 minutes while Nana Bonsu was superlative as he reacted well to stop two goal bound shots on 83 and 88 minutes to make the result respectable for the Enugu side.
Coach Olugbenga Ogunbote said after the encounter, “This was a good exhibition but we lost to a big mix up at the back. I am indeed disappointed by the result but we are going back to correct the noticed lapses. This is only our second game since we won the Aiteo cup and I think it contributed to this loss. However, I am positive of a good outing in the CAF Confederation cup which is our next game.”
Rangers International kick start its challenge for continental honors next week Wednesday, November 28, 2018 with a home game against Defense Force S.C of Ethiopia in the preliminary round of 2018 Total/CAF Confederation cup with the return leg scheduled for the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, in a week time.
Rangers have successfully acquired the services of former attacking sensation and Super Eagles’ FIFA World cup star, Michael Uchebo, Bobby Clement, Ivorian star; Pascal Seka and many others to help it challenge for the top prizes in the three.