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BY: OLATOYE OLAWALE

Enugu based, Rangers International F.C endured a heavy bombardment in the first quarter-hour of the match day 23, NPFL 2019/2020 season encounter against M.F.M F.C, to run away with a goalless draw even with a missed penalty kick.

The host were the fastest off the block from the blast of the referee’ whistle signaling the start of hostilities at the ‘Soccer Temple’, Agege Township stadium, Lagos.

The trio of Adeniji Adewole, Moses Adikwu and Clement Ogwu had created over three opportunities in the first fifteen minutes of the hotly contested encounter but met a stumbling block in Ghanaian international shot stopper, Nana Bonsu, whose brilliance between the sticks kept Rangers in the game.

Rangers gradually worked their way into the game with Kenechukwu Agu and Chiamaka Madu showing dominance in the middle of the pack with supplies to the attacking duo of Chinonso Eziekwe and Israel Abia who had a one-on-one situation with MFM shot stopper, Folarin Abayomi on 22 minutes but failed to make it count.

At the half hour mark, Abia was freed with an intelligent pass from Agu but he failed to beat Abayomi in the second time of trying and on 38 minutes, Ogwu Clement, saw his effort miss target by few inches as both teams retired to the dressing room on even note.

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On resumption of play in the second half, coach Salisu Yusuf pulled out Chiamaka Madu for inspirational, Ibrahim Olawoyin and he was an instant hit as his dashing dribbling runs bemused the back line of the host who fouled him inside the box and the referee wasted no time in awarding a spot kick just three minutes after the re-start.

The resultant penalty kick was however blown sky-ward by attacking sensation, Israel Abia on 49 minutes to the dismay of the travelling contingent and relief to the host’ vociferous supporters and bench.

Chances fell for both sides to take the lead as the game wore on but quality goal keeping from both ends meant the match ended on a scoreless note and both teams shared the spoils of the war with the visitors ruing missed opportunities to take back their pound of flesh from the team that snatched all three points when they met earlier in the season in Enugu.

Coach Mbwas Mangut said, after the match, “It was a difficult match that would have gone either way but we really blew an opportunity to annex all three points especially with the missed penalty kick. We continue to work on the team as our target remains ending the season on a high with a top three finish on our minds. We hope to improve in the coming fixtures.”

Israel Abia, who had a bad day in the office, said, “I feel so bad missing some clear chances and a penalty. We will try and get all three points against Katsina United on Wednesday in Enugu.”

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