Sunday, July 03, 2011

Rangers suffer first home loss in two years

Five-time Nigerian champions, Enugu Rangers, suffered their first home defeat in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) in over two years when visiting Kano Pillars got a lone goal win at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium on Sunday in a Week 30 game.

Playing in their 14th home game of the season, the Flying Antelopes were clearly the best side against Kano Pillars from the start of the game.

An insipid style of play from the visiting side ensured that Rangers were reduced to just a handful of half chances in the opening half of the game that ended goalless.

But ten minutes into the restart, Kano Pillars’ midfielder, Musa Musa, stunned the home team with a fine goal side after a sweeping counter-attack from Ladan Bosso’s men.

Surprisingly that turned out to be the only real chance created by Kano Pillars, which adopted a largely defence play that caught an attacking Rangers outfit on the break.

It was evident that the Flying Antelopes were missing the dribbling runs, crosses and guile of attacking winger, Ejike Uzoenyi, who was not dressed for the game.

However, Rangers were handed a lifeline on 65 minutes when centre referee, Bunmi Ogunkolade from Oyo State, awarded them a penalty after an infringement on a goal-bound attempt in the Pillars’ goal area.

Rangers’ captain and spot kick specialist this season, Uwadiegwu Ugwu, blew his side’s chance of salvaging a point from the game when he missed from the penalty kick.

Attempts by Rangers attacking line led by Brendan Ogbu to get their side back into the game were met by dogged defending by Bosso’s side.

It is the first time the Flying Antelopes would lose at home since March 7, 2009 when Heartland defeated them 1 – 3 at their temporary home in Nnewi.

Before today’s loss at home, Rangers were on a streak of 87 home games without a loss.

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