NPFL: Destiny strikes down Rangers

NPFL By: Ayodeji Tunde | 04/06/2018

FC Naija

Former Nigerian league champions, Rangers International F.C could not realise its set target in a Match Day 24 fixture against host, Katsina United as a Destiny Ashadi’ strike on the half-hour mark ensured the ‘Flying Antelopes’ left Katsina empty-handed.

Worse for the visitors was the marching orders given to the duo of Senegalese defender, Pape Ousmane Sane, and technical adviser, coach Olugbenga Ogunbote late in the game by the centre referee.

The host who kicked off the encounter quickly settled into their stride with the trio of Tasiu Lawal, Martins Usule and Destiny Ashadi pulling the strings while Rangers’ back four did well to contain their early onslaught.

Rangers attacking quartet of Uche Nwofor, Solomon Okpako, Ajani Ibrahim and Felix Ogbuke took some time in registering their presence on the pitch and when they did, it was with grace as the host defended in their numbers to deny them a sniff at goal.

Femi Thomas was kept busy by the youthful Ashadi and just before conceding, brought his experience to bear as he denied Martins Usule in a one-on-one situation but had no answer to Ashadi’ riffler that evaded a sea of legs to rest at the back of the net for what turned out to be the only and match-winning goal on 30 minutes.

Stunned as they were, the visitors took the fight to their host probing for openings but were shut out until the stroke of half-time when Ajani Ibrahim dribbled his way past two markers and on the verge of pulling the trigger when he was brought down but the referee waved play on despite appeals from the visitor’s bench.

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Rangers started the second stanza much stronger but Usman Barau, Timothy Danladi and Ajana Chinedu did a good job in screening out any threat thrown at them while Femi Thomas had to make himself very big to prevent Joseph Adah from extending the lead on 72 minutes in a quick counter-attack.

With the match grinding to its end, Rangers’ defender, Ousmane was shown a straight red card by the referee for showing his displeasure at a call by the arbiter while his coach was to follow a few minutes later.

With this result, Rangers remains on the 10th position with 30 points from 23 matches and will be tackling neighbours, Heartland F.C, Owerri, in a rescheduled Match Day 23 encounter this Sunday, June 10, 2018 inside the main-bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu.