Rangers’ Continental Bid Suffers Setback With Loss To Heartland In Owerri

Owerri -Two momentary loss of concentration by Rangers International F.C backline was largely responsible for the 2-1 loss suffered in the hands of neighbors, Heartland F.C in a match day 33, NPFL 2020/21 fixture inside Dan Anyiam stadium, Owerri.

This is a major setback as the ‘Flying Antelopes’ chase for a continental ticket next season.

A break in communication between Ernest Governor and goalkeeper, Nana Bonsu in the 10th minute, gifted Chijioke Mbaoma enough time and space to steal between them to put the host in front.

To Rangers’ credit, the coach Salisu Yusuf tutored side who had lost their all-action attacking midfielder, Godspower Aniefiok to an injury just eight minutes into the match, took the battle to the half of the ‘Naze Millionaires’.

In the 23rd minute, substitute, Elijah Ani, drew the visitors level as he calmly slotted past Chijioke Ejiogu, a defense splitting pass from Chinonso Eziekwe.

On 37 minutes, Akuneto Chijioke once again benefited from another ‘switching off’ by the visitors’ defenders as they were caught ball watching as former Rangers player, Chidera Eze’ gentle chip from a dead ball situation, found his team mates but in spite of Bonsu’ spirited efforts, Chijioke buried the rebound to give the host the lead into the break.

Two minutes into the second half, Chinonso Eziekwe had the opportunity to draw the Enugu side level but his effort went wide off target with ‘Arugo Monkey’, Chijioke Ejiogu in no-mans-land.

Despite enjoying a large period of domination with the introduction of Shedrack Asiegbu, Kenechukwu Agu and Femi Ajayi, the dominance could not be turned into a goal, as the host defended in their numbers to earn the win that has to a large extent, relaxed their relegation worries.

Assistant Coach Benedict Ugwu in a post-match chat with TNC correspondent, said, “This was a game we just threw away by ourselves. The pitch did not allow us to express ourselves, especially in the first half just as the early injury-induced substitution, did not help matters. We keep working till the end of the season as all hope for a continental ticket is not lost.”

Rangers will next play host to Kano Pillars in a matchday 34 encounter slated for the main bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu on Wednesday, July 21, 2021.


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