- Published on Sunday, 20 August 2017 23:52
- Hits: 927
By China Acheru
Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Rangers faced tough opposition, lost a lead within a minute but rallied back to win 2-1 at home to Katsina United in one of Sunday's Matchday 35 games.
The Flying Antelopes opened scores in the 44th minute when Chinedu Udeagha’s free kick was headed onto the path of Chibuzor Madu.
Madu took his time to pick his spot and then blasted into the top side of the post but the celebrations were short-lived.
A minute after Madu's goal, Katsina United got a free kick taken into the Rangers penalty area and in the melee, the referee spotted a handball and pointed at the spot for a penalty kick.
Timothy Danladi scored the spot kick to draw level before the half time whistle sounded.
It was Chinedu Udeagha, again in the 55th minute whose tailor measured free kick was headed home by Christian Madu to give Rangers the lead and eventual winning goal.
Setpiece practice paid off
Rangers coach, Chukwuma Agbo told npfl.ng after the game that his side had actually been training on setpieces in the past weeks and so was not surprised they got their two goals from such chances.
“For sometime now, we have been looking at setpieces. The league is getting to its business end and you have to create more means of winning games apart from the normal so yes, we have been training on setpieces and I am happy it paid off,” Agbo said.
All action and little bite
For most of the first half, Rangers were in control. They had most of the possession and took the game to their opponents who just held back, playing off the counter.
But in spite of all their possession and control Rangers gave little in terms of penetration so their opponents were a bit comfortable and then started asking questions of their own.
As early as the first minute, Kelvin Itoya dribbled his way into the Katsina United goal area, but his effort was blocked by a defender for a corner.
There was another blocked shot five minutes later, but this time at the Rangers’ goal area as Yushau Garba thought he had a chance from outside the box, but his shot was blocked and did not bother the goalkeeper.
A minute later, Usule Martins who scored the equaliser in Port Harcourt against Rivers United saw an opening in the Rangers goal area, but his shot went wide.
Rangers had a penalty appeal turned down in the 12th minute as the centre referee gave a free kick for an infringement at the edge of the box rather than cave in to pressure from the home fans.
Usule Martins was not holding back as he went on rampage once more on the 17 minute mark, but was brought down before he could do any real damage. The free kick at the edge of the penalty area was blocked by the Rangers’ wall.
Midway into the half, a fine bit of passing by Rangers cut open the Katsina defence, but with the ball at the feet of Bright Silas, he shot wide when it may have been easier to score.
“It was difficult to break down Katsina United but I knew we would do it eventually,” Agbo told npfl.ng.
“I have been watching tapes of their league games for sometime I know how they shape up on the road and how they play. It was only in Port Harcourt against Rivers United that they got a result on the road in the last 12 weeks, so I knew the goal would come and we would eventually win,” Agbo said.
At the restart, it was Kelvin Itoya who almost got on the score sheet a minute after, but his weak shot after cutting through the defence was saved by Yinka David before Christian Madu eventually scored off Chinedu Udeagha’s free kick in the 55th minute.
Katsina United unlucky not to draw level
After taking the lead, Kelvin Itoya had a chance to bury the game in the 59th minute but after he turned his marker around, he shot wide from the edge of the penalty area.
After this attempt, Katsina United seemed to have shaken off the lethargy of their second half start.
Chinedu Udechukwu who had turned out tormentor in chief beat Okey Odita and Mathew Etim but his low drive rebounded off the upright after goalkeeper, Seidu Mutawakilu was left stranded. That was in the 64th minute.
Twelve minutes later, it was Udechukwu on the prowl again as a quick stepover sent Odita the wrong way, but the bulky defender recovered to foul him before he could cause any danger.
And in added time, Usule Martins thought he had equalised on the road again as he did in Port Harcourt two weeks ago. With Mutawakilu off his line, he back flicked a header into the Rangers goal, but the keeper took two well timed steps back before going up in the air to save.
Respect for Rangers
Coach of Katsina United, Baldwin Bazuaye told npfl.ng that he has a lot of respect for Rangers.
“I give them their maximum respect. My boys played well and they also played well too, but the goal came when it did,” Bazuaye said.
He continued that he came to Enugu to get a result but unfortunately has to go home empty.
“My plan was to come here and pick a result but unfortunately that goal just got everybody down. My boys played according to instructions but it was unfortunate,” he said.
Katsina United: David; Kappe, Gwammy, Barau, Danladi, Ajaero, Garba, Faisal, Udechukwu, Eleje, Usule
Subs not used: Paul, Abdulrahman, Nwachukwu, Suleman, Kabir, Adah
Rangers: Mutawakilu; Etim, Anyasodo, Christian Madu, Odita, Chibuzor Madu, Silas, Aguda, Itoya, Udeagha, Olusesi
Subs not used: Itodo, Henlon, Chebem, Eze
Rangers 2-1 Katsina United
Shots (On Target): 8(5)-8(3)
Fouls committed: 13-13
Corner kicks: 4-1
Crosses (completed crosses): 8(2)-4(0)
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