Seven-time Nigeria league champions, Rangers International F.C of Enugu will this weekend seek to continue its fine form in the ongoing 2020/2021 NPFL season that has seen the coach Salisu Yusuf tutored side go four matches without a loss as perennial rivals from North-Central, Lobi Stars come visiting to ‘The Cathedral’ for a match day 6 fixture.
Since dropping all points in a match day 1 fixture in Port-Harcourt against early table toppers, Rivers United, the ‘Flying Antelopes’ have upped their game winning three and earning one draw in its next four including a win on the road.
Heading into this weekend’ titanic soccer battle which will be the 27th time both sides will be engaging in a top flight fixture, Rangers’ gaffer will be banking on the youthful zeal of the troika of Chidiebere Nwobodo, Ugochukwu Ugwuoke and Christian Nnaji to dislodge the ‘Invading Stars’ from the ‘Food Basket’ state who under coach Kabiru Dogo have been doing well since the season kicked off in late December, 2020.
With the expected pairing of former Lobi Stars defense lynchpin, Ernest Governor with Uche John in the heart of the ‘Flying Antelopes’ backline, there would be enough experience tenacity to snuff out and extinguish any attacking forays from the duo of Ossy Martins and Austin Ogunye for the visitors.
Though the match will be a closed door game, officials of both sides, sports journalists, medical personnel, F.A officials and security personnel on hand would have a lot to tell about the tasty fixture as there would be no dull moments as Chiamaka Madu, Chinonso Eziekwe, Shedrack Asiegbu and reigning top scorer of the league, Israel Abia pull their acts together to send the ‘Makurdi Warlords’ back to base empty handed even with the likes of Thomas Zenke, Ossy Martins, Ebube Duru, Duke Shimaga, Adeleye Aniyikaye and Chinonso Okonkwo expected to bring their ‘A’ game to the table.
Captain of Rangers, Temitope Olusesi in a chat heading into the feisty fixture said, “To me, the game is going to be a very good game because they (Lobi Stars) are a good side and we respect them just as we do other opponents. We have decided to take every match as a cup final and the game on Sunday in Enugu will not be different. We shall come out victorious by God’s grace.”
Down memory lane, the visitors have an edge over the host as they have earned 13 victories in the 26 times both sides have met with four drawn matches while nine have ended in victories for the ‘Flying Antelopes’ who have on the rise in their last four encounters.
Going into this fixture, both sides seat on ten points apiece having won three matches and drawn one with one loss suffered by each side but Lobi Stars enjoy a superior goals advantage having scored eight goals and conceding four while Rangers have scored five goals and leaked in three goals in five matches already prosecuted.
Form of both teams in the last five match days; Rangers: D,W,W,W,L while Lobi Stars reads thus: W,D,W,W,L.
RESULTS OBTAINED IN MATCHES INVOLVING RANGERS & LOBI STARS IN THE LAST SIX YEARS:
08/07/2015 = Rangers 3-1 Lobi Stars
08/11/ 2015 = Lobi Stars 2-0 Rangers
23/03/2016 = Lobi Stars 3-1 Rangers
23/07/2016 = Rangers 1-1 Lobi Stars
22/2/2017 = Rangers 2-1 Lobi Stars
02/07/2017 = Lobi Stars 3-1 Rangers
17/01/ 2018 = Rangers 1-2 Lobi Stars
20/05/2018 = Lobi Stars 1-0 Rangers
17/04/ 2019 = Rangers 1-1 Lobi Stars
12/05/2019 = Lobi Stars 1-0 Rangers
06/06/2019 = Rangers 2-1 Lobi Stars
05/02/2020 = Lobi Stars 1-1 Rangers