By Yemi Sodeeq
It was a game of each half as Kwara United and Rangers settled for a 1-1 draw on Sunday in Matchday 4 of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) played at the Kwara State Stadium Complex, Ilorin.
The visitors, not minding the cheering fans of their hosts got the best of the game in the first half when Kazeem Ogunleye slotted in a close range free kick from the edge of the box in the 34th minute to sum up an impressive performance from the Flying Antelopes.
At the other end, it was a slow start for the hosts, who only needed to complement one point they had gotten in their last game against former league champions, Rivers United on the road, but had to struggle in the final third of Rangers and had no significant impact upfront throughout the first 45 minutes.
The pendulum of the game shifted to the Harmony Boys in the second half and just like their visitors, they got their equaliser from Alao Mohammed’s screamer in the 56th minute as he volleyed in a pass from Kabiru Balogun.
Rangers had to tighten up their defence all through the rest of the game as they were on the ropes. The home side were all over Rangers with the introduction of new legs like Ayo Adejubu, Godwin Oshagbemi and Emmanuel Ogbole.
The Flying Antelopes would also have their goalkeeper, Japhet Opubo to thank for his standout performance in between the sticks, even as he was later booked for time wasting by the referee.
Speaking after the game, Rangers head coach Fidelis Ilechukwu noted that his team were emboldened by the fact that Kwara United picked a point on the road against Rivers United in their last game, as such they also came to Ilorin to replicate the same.
While noting that the Harmony Boys are a good side, he described the draw as a favourable result for his side who now sit third on the log with seven points.
“I don’t know that Kwara United is as good as this. Their first half wasn’t good, and we failed to capitalise on that. They came out good in the second half, and to me, the draw we got here was like a win,” he said.
For Kwara United head coach Kabir Sulaiman Dogo, Rangers were very lucky to get the draw. He added that they did not deserve it.
“Rangers were very lucky to get a draw. They didn’t deserve it. That’s football for you. My team is improving game by game. They are a bunch of young players, and with patience, they will keep improving,” Dogo said.
Kwara United so far have five points from four matches, and will play away to Bayelsa United in a Matchday 5 encounter while Rangers will host to Kano Pillars in their next game.