A lone strike from substitute, Elijah Ani, on 70 minutes was all the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International F.C needed to send visiting Katsina United back to base empty handed and keep alive hopes of picking a continental ticket at the end of the season.
The match day 36 fixture which took place inside the main bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu, Wednesday, saw the coach Salisu Yusuf tutored side take the game to their opponent as soon as FIFA badge referee, Elaigwu Hannah signaled start of hostilities.
Ibrahim Olawoyin, Ugochukwu Ugwuoke and Chiamaka Madu were dictating the pace from the offensive midfield position just as Tony Shimaga did well in covering every space in the defensive midfield position to ensure that Rasheed Ahmed and Samuel Kalu did not function well in their attacking position for the visitors.
The attacking duo of Christian Nnaji and Chinonso Eziekwe did their best upfront but goalkeeper, Kassaly Dauda for the visitors’ was the reason the visitors did not concede a goal going into the break as he did well to beat out an Ibrahim Olawoyin’ stinging shot from the edge of the box on 7 minutes just as he made himself big enough to scare away Eziekwe on 17 minutes in a one-on-one situation while chances on 25 and 32 minutes also went begging for the host.
In the second stanza, Rangers gaffer, the duo of Elijah Ani and Shedrack Asiegbu for Eziekwe and Ugwuoke which further pushed back the visitors into their defensive shells and on 68 minutes, Christian Nnaji thought he had scored his eleventh goal of the season after been fed by an Elijah’ defense splitting pass but his effort was chopped out for offside position of play.
Two minutes later, the power playing forward rose majestically to nod home an Ibrahim Olawoyin’ inch-perfect cross past a sranded Kassaly to send the home bench into frenzy and two minutes later, Elijah missed an opportunity to grab a brace as his header off a Chiamaka Madu’ free-kick missed target by few inches.