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Rangers Int'l FC taste defeat in Katsina United FC

Posted : 08 April 2024

Despite suffering its first defeat in 11 matches in the 2023/2024 NPFL season through a 4-3 loss to Katsina United F.C inside Muhammadu Dikko Stadium, Katsina, in a match day 29 fixture, Rangers International F.C of Enugu continues to maintain the prime position on the 20-team log.

Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu, the reigning LBA Coach-of-the-Month, kept faith with the squad that defeated Sunshine Stars in a mid-week fixture except for the duo of Austin Opara and Kenneth Igboke whose places were taken up by David Chimezie and Philip Clement, but the team did not get the start it craved for in the encounter.

The ‘Chanji Boys’ took a shock lead in the 4th minute after some hesitant defending allowed Falolu Azeez to power home a connecting header past Japhet Opubo, but Rangers fought back gamely and were level in the 9th minute when Isaac Saviour blasted an unstoppable shot past Pius Ibrahim.

In the 16th minute, Michael Ibe benefited from a goal-mouth melee to poke home, and from the restart of the game, Rangers were back on level terms as Godwin Obaje scored with a fierce shot.

With the first half seemingly coming to an end on a draw, Michael Ibe’s snapshot from the edge of the box nestled in the net in the 45th minute, sending the home fans into wild jubilation as both teams retired to the locker rooms from the scorching sun of Katsina.

Whatever coach Ilechukwu may have told his wards at the break was quickly scuttled by the home side as they scored another goal just three minutes into the second stanza, as Patrick Okoko benefited from some slow reactions from the backline of the ‘Flying Antelopes’ in dealing with a Chidera Ezeh’s corner-kick.

Coach Ilechukwu rang some changes as the game went into the last quarter-hour, and it was substitute Joel Odoh who reacted well to connect home with his head, a Kazeem Ogunleye corner-kick.

Efforts to find the final punch to tie the game failed to see the light of the day as Ejike Ugochukwu's long-range effort missed the target by whiskers in added time of the game.

Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu said in a post-match chat, “I think it was a great game today for both teams. Scoring three goals in an away game is not an easy task, but conceding four goals is not acceptable in football. I am so sad about that, but we can only move on as today’s game is gone. All we need to do is to psyche the boys up, identify the challenging area, and make the corrections going into our next game.”

With 51 points from 29 matches and a healthy goal differential, Rangers remain on top of the twenty-team log for the third week running and will next trade tackles with Abia Warriors on Sunday, April 14, 2024, inside ‘The Cathedral’, Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu.


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