The ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International F.C of Enugu under the guidance of coach Abdul Maikaba, was on Sunday, June 26, 2022, denied any share of the spoils in a match day 35, NPFL 2021/2022 fixture by the host, Kano Pillars under coach Salisu Yusuf, the immediate past gaffer of the Enugu side.
A questionable penalty kick awarded by the referee just three minutes into the second stanza for an alleged handball incident that was converted by the legend of the league, Rabiu Ali on 52 minutes turned out to be the match-winner for the ‘Sai Masu Gida’ side in the hotly contested encounter that was played behind closed doors.
The host started the encounter the much hungrier upfront with the trio of Rabiu Ali, Ifeanyi Eze, and Ali Mailafia leading the assault but the backline of the visitors anchored around Olawale Doyeni and David Chimezie ably covered by Kenechukwu Agu in defensive midfield position snuffed out any danger before it is exploited especially on two and eight minutes of play.
At the quarter-hour mark, the visitors created an opportunity but Joshua Enaholo who stood between the sticks for the home side was quick off his goal line to make a save just as it was on 25 and 32 minutes when opportunities fell for Chidiebere Nwobodo and Christian Nnaji but the failed to take them.
There were further opportunities for both sides as the game went on as Kenechukwu Agu’s shot from a distance missed target by inches on 59 minutes just as Mark Daniel fired his shot across the face of the goal on 66 minutes for the host and Kenechukwu Agu was presented with another opportunity to draw the visitors level on 87 minutes but his curly shot from the edge of the box failed to trouble Enaholo.
Rangers coach, Abdul Maikaba, said after the encounter, “I will congratulate Kano Pillars for getting the three points in this game that had two teams with a different attachment to the game. We came to fight for the maximum points to enhance our chances of going to the continent next season while our opponent was fighting to get the points to enhance the fight against the drop.”
Maikaba further said, “I am disappointed with the result, a penalty goal that was not too clear, but we return to our base to ensure we win our next game at home and the last two of the season so as to get our target of playing continental football next season.”
Rangers maintain their stay on the 4th spot on the log with 52 points from 35 matches and will next play host to Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan (3SC) in a match day 36 fixture at the Awka City Stadium on Saturday, July 2, 2022.