A late goal by substitute Jonas Emmanuel inside two of the four added minutes before full-time in the 2-2 draw at Sunshine Stars helped Rangers secure a point in one of eight Sunday’s Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) fixtures.
Rangers head coach Fidelis Ilechukwu stuck to the squad that defeated Heartland on the last matchday and the team did not disappoint the travelling contingent as former NPFL top scorer, Godwin Obaje nodded the Coal City side into an early lead as he connected home an Isaac Saviour well-taken free kick that resulted from the foul on Kenneth Igboke on four minutes under pressure from lanky Ekerette Udom.
The goal silenced the half-filled Akure Stadium but sprung Edith Agoye’s side into action as they pushed for an early leveller that failed to materialize.
Kazeem Ogunleye almost increased the lead for Rangers on 11 minutes but his pile-driver from about 25 metres missed target by few inches before Ibrahim Yusuf drew the home side level on 13 minutes after being left unmarked to blast an unstoppable shot past goalkeeper Japhet Opubo.
Both sides retired for the first half on an even note and on resumption of the second stanza, the home side pushed for the winning goal as they dominated the middle of the park but Ejike Ugochukwu, Chukwudi Nwaodu, Isaac Saviour, Joel Odoh, and Igboke joined others to put up stiff resistance until the 81st minute when Moses Omodumueke’s teasing shot found its way past a badly positioned Opubo to put the home side in front heading into the last ten minutes.
Sunshine Stars’ celebration was cut short with only two minutes remaining in the match when Saviour found Odoh on the right who ran down with the ball to deliver an inch-perfect cross that was stylishly side-footed into the net by Jonas Emmanuel as goalkeeper Mustapha Lawal was caught unaware.
Ilechukwu said after the match: “It was a very difficult match against a quality side but as our slogan says, we never say die until the final whistle and I give my players kudos as we keep working on the areas of deficiency. My defence gave away cheap goals but we keep working until we get it right.”
With the win, Rangers maintain the third spot on the standings with 14 points from eight matches and will next play Katsina United on Sunday, November 19, 2023, at the Awka City Stadium.