The dreams of the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International F.C of maintaining the top spot going into the next match day failed to materialize inside Muhammadu Dikko stadium, Katsina, as coach Salisu Yusuf’ wards conceded a goal in each half to be pegged back by Katsina United F.C.
Lanky, Rasheed Ahmed benefited from sloppy defending by the visitor’s backline that failed to clear their area after Ghanaian shot stopper, Seidu Mutawakilu had earlier foiled a goal attempt by Boubacar Massily but the ball fell kindly for Ahmed to slot home at the quarter-hour mark.
Tried as the midfield troika of Esor Achibong, Ugochukwu Ugwuoke and Shedrack Asiegbu could, they could not find a way past the Adekunle Adeniyi well organized defense line for the host.
On 20 minutes, lone man upfront for the Enugu landlords, Chinonso Eziekwe found a way past his markers but his left footed effort missed target by few inches just as Shedrack Asiegbu’ shot from about twenty-five meters that was going in was blocked out on 23 minutes.
Seidu on two occasions made saves that kept the visitors in the game as he stretched full length to beat out an Atule Joseph’ shot on 28 minutes while Rasheed Ahmed’ ding from inside the box that was heading into the net but the Ghanaian shot stopper reacted well to tip it over the bar on 32 minutes.
As the first half was coming to an end, Shedrack Asiegbu carved out an opportunity for himself on 42 minutes but his well struck shot was easily curdled by Yusuf Mohammed in goal for the host.
Coach Salisu Yusuf introduced fresh legs as the time crept past the hour mark with the quartet of Femi Ajayi, Christian Nnaji, Kenechukwu Agu and debutant, Daniel Vandagar and the host were pushed back for some time but there was no goal for the visitors to show for their dominance.
A break by the host as the match entered its last ten minutes saw Rasheed Ahmed adjudged to have been fouled inside the box by a returning, Tony Shimaga as both players went for a shoulder-check challenge and the attacker went down and the referee pointed to the spot which was converted by Joseph Atule on 83 minutes.
Coach Mbwas Mangut who spoke after the encounter, said, “It was a little bit a disappointing display from us because we really worked hard for a much better result. We planned a lot of strategy but we failed in the transition from defense to attack. We did not do too well in defense and our opponent took advantage of it.”
Rangers next play against Nasarawa United in a match day 17 fixture inside Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu.
RANGERS TEAM: Seidu Mutawakilu, Osas Okoro, Timothy Simon, Tony Shimaga, Ernest Governor, Ebuka Anthony, Christian Madu (Kenechukwu Agu -65th Min.), Shedrack Asiegbu (Daniel Vandagar -65th Min.), Esor Achibong (Dauda Madaki -79th Min.), Ugochukwu Ugwuoke (Femi Ajayi -65th Min.), Chinonso Eziekwe (Christian Nnaji -65th Min.). SUBS NOT USED: Femi Thomas, Ifeanyi Okoro, Tony Eliagwu, Traore Issif.