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Seven-time Nigeria league champions, Rangers International F.C was on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 pegged back by a Solomon Kwambe’ well struck free kick in added time of a re-scheduled match day 7, NPFL fixture to end a hundred percent home record of wins as Lobi Stars forced the pace setters to a 1-1 draw.

Godwin Aguda had shot the host into the lead on 62 minutes from the spot after Kester Kelly had upended goal bound Ajani Ibrahim in the box and the referee wasted no time in pointing to the spot.

The match started on a cautious note with both sides trying to force errors from the other with little success but the first real opportunity fell for the host as Michael Uchebo forced an error from Bashiru Olawale on the quarter hour mark to come face-to-face with Ospina Egbe who made himself very big to deny the lanky forward’ effort.

Seka Pascal was next to miss another golden opportunity on 35 minutes as he was free on goal by a Chiamaka Madu’ precise pass but the visitor’ backline reacted quickly to snuff out the threat.

On 40 minutes, the half full stadium rose to celebrate what they thought was the opener as Ugwu Uwadiegwu’ curly free kick from about thirty meters but his effort which beat the goal keeper narrowly missed target.

When both teams returned from the dressing room, it was the visitors that looked more enterprising with Michael Stephen, Samad Kadiri and Dare Ojo asking all the questions that were equally answered by Rangers back four led by Isiaka Oladuntoye and Akpos Adubi.

With the match creeping past the hour mark, substitute, Ifeanyi Egwim’ pass found Ajani Ibrahim and his dashing run into the box was halted as Kester Kelly fouled him and the resultant penalty kick was neatly dispatched by Godwin Aguda for his fifth goal of the season and sent the expectant crowd into a frenzy.

However, a stoppage time foul spotted by the referee at the edge of the box provided the visitors with a rear opportunity which was expertly curled in by former Super Eagles right-back, Solomon Kwambe for the leveler that left soured taste in the mouth of the home fans while the few travelling fans went on celebrating.

Coach Ogunbote in a post match chat said, “Once again, we are undone by our lack of converting chances created. It was a clear two points dropped but we thank God for the result against an equally good side and hope to take the positives from the match going forward. The match would have been won and lost had we buried the numerous opportunities we created but the end result shows that it is not over until it is over. We continue to fight for to keep our place at the top of the log to qualify for the end of the season super-six to have the opportunity to get a crack at the continent again.”

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Coach Solomon Ogbeide of Lobi Stars said, “This was a great display of soccer artistry from both teams which goes to a very large extent to show that they learnt one or two things from the continent. We came here to ensure we did not lose to a side that have been scoring goals on the road and thankfully our strategy worked. We hope to continue challenging for a top three finish. Sure, we miss some of our players who are down with one form of injury or another but we hope to have them back soon.”

Godwin Aguda said, “It was a painful result but we thank God as it would have been worse if we had lost. We shall continue to challenge for a better finish. I am very happy to have scored today but it would have been better if my goal had helped us to a victory today.”

With the result, Rangers maintain its stay at the top of group A log with 28 points from thirteen matches closely followed by Enyimba and MFM with 24 points from fifteen matches.

Rangers next play MFM on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019 inside the main bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium in a match day 16 fixture.

RANGERS TEAM: Nana Bonsu, Chidera Ezeh, Ugwu Uwadiegwu, Tony Shimaga, Akpos Adubi (Okey Odita -63rd Min.), Isiaka Oladuntoye, Godwin Aguda, Seka Pascal, Michael Uchebo (Ifeanyi Egwim -48th Min.), Chiamaka Madu, Ajani Ibrahim (West Omodu 85th Min.). SUBS NOT USED: Femi Thomas, Isaac Loute, Christian Madu, Roland Koffi.

GOAL: Godwin Aguda – 62nd Minute (Pen.).

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