NPFL23: Rangers’ Continue Poor Form After Another Defeat Agaunst Champions
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By Amaechi Agbo
Rangers International FC continued their poor run of form in the 2023 Nigeria Premier Football League, NPFL season as they recorded yet another away defeat against champions, Rivers United on Wednesday
Rangers who earlier in the month clinched the Enugu State FA Cup after a 5-1 demolition of Ingas FC, lost the rescheduled match by alone goal against the defending champions in Port Harcourt.
A moment of defensive lapse coupled with what coach Abdul Maikaba of Rangers described as a big mistake by the referee of the twice rescheduled, matchday 8, Group B, NPFL 2022/2023 fixture, ensured that the ‘Flying Antelopes’, surrendered all points at stake to reigning league champions, Rivers United in Port Harcourt.
Nyima Nwangwa 63rd minute goal separated both team I. The encounter. He reacted well to loop the ball over goalkeeper, Emeka Nwabulu on 63 minutes after the defense line of Rangers was caught napping off a well drilled free kick from Paul Acquah.
Both teams did cancel each other out in the first stanza with the Rangers quartet of Saidu Adamu, Chinemerem Ugwueze, Shedrack Asiegbu and Austin Onyemaechi standing out while Hadi Mohammed and Godwin Obaje probed for the goals.
Chances came the way of Austin Onyemaechi on 22 and 28 minutes but Abiodun Akande was alert to his duties between the sticks for the host while Rangers’ Emeka Nwabulu produced the save of the game on the stroke of half time with a full length dive to deny Morice Chukwu.
On 75 minutes, Saidu Adamu was presented with an opportunity to draw Rangers level after he was set up by Hadi Mohammed but his effort missed target by a few inches.
The defeat leaves Rangers with 9 points from available 27 in the first stanza of the league. They are 11 pints away from Group B leaders, Lobi Stars and 3 points above the relegation zone.
The second stanza of the league will commence this weekend and despite assurances from the Enugu State Government, there are indications that the 2016 NPFL Champions will finish their 2023 League season playing away from home.
With their home ground, Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium Enugu under renovation since October 2021, Rangers have played all their home matches in Awka City Stadium, Anambra State.