NPFL champs Rangers scale relegation zone

By Daily Sports on May 4, 2017

Views: 1,650

Nigerian champions Enugu Rangers hauled themselves off the relegation line with a 1-0 win over NPFL table-toppers Plateau United in Wednesday's rearranged match.

Plateau United had come into the contest on the back of a four-game unbeaten run and were expected to give the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions Rangers problems from set-plays.

Rangers head coach, Chukwuma Agbo, who is under an embargo from granting media interview, gave two of his new-signings Chidera Eze and Ghana stopper Seidu Mutawakilu their first starts while last season's heroes Obinna Nwobodo and Godwin Aguda only got places on the bench. Bobby Clement was not listed.

It was a Plateau United startlist of players who mounted positions in the middle of the park with Jimmy Ambrose, Joshua Obaje and Sunday Ingbede involved and Kabiru Umar playing upfront as the lone man.

The Flying Antelopes were off the blocks faster and approached the game at breakneck speed with Bright Silas and Ifeanyi George heavily involved.

Fifteen minutes into the match, Rangers were awarded a spot kick after Eze was upended in the box.

Former Nigeria under-17 goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye dived in the right direction to stop Chibuzor Madu's poorly struck penalty to the delight of Plateau United's head coach Kennedy Boboye.

The champions did not have to wait too long as Daniel Etor got on the end of a perfectly whipped in cross to stamp home the ball past Ajiboye on 22 minutes.

Four minutes later Rangers goalkeeper Mutawakilu produced a good save to stop Ambrose's long range effort.

Plateau United began to turn on the screws on their hosts, and on 31 minutes Daniel Itodo's long throw-in into Rangers' box was not properly dealt with and Obaje cracked it against the post and Umar hit the rebound wide.

Rangers however held on to their slim lead into the break and were immediately on the back foot at the restart when their Ghana stopper Mutawakilu had to tip over a dangerous long throw-in from Itodo over.

And there was one moment for Plateau United's dead-ball specialist Elisha Golbe to produce something special. His free kick missed target by just inches to the relief of the Rangers bench.

In a bid to salvage something out of the contest, Boboye reshuffled his tactics. He sent on Emeka Umeh, Kim John and Mafeng Pam for Kabiru Umar, Ingbede and Emmanuel Olowo respectively. Kim John nearly earned himself an instant hero tag when his shot just four minutes of coming on forced Mutawakilu into a big save.

Rangers had two quick chances to wrap up the contest but Ifeanyi George and Chidera Eze could not apply the finish. (Supersport)

Photo shows Rangers squad.

Source Daily Sports

Posted May 4, 2017

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