Captain Solomon Kwambe scored a last-minute free-kick to deny Rangers three consecutive victories and earn Lobi Stars a point in their rescheduled Nigeria Professional Football League clash at the Cathedral on Wednesday.
Rangers came into the game as the most inform team in the Nigeria Professional Football League, having stayed unbeaten in previous 11 games and with only a defeat in the league this season.
Lobi Stars on their part came into crunch tie at the back of two consecutive away games, losing one (3-1 defeat at Sunshine Stars) and draw the other (0-0 with MFM FC in Agege) and were also without their top scorer this season Sikiru Alimi and first-choice goalkeeper Olufemi Kayode
Ajani was lively at the start of the game and set up Uchebo for Rangers’ real first opportunity in the seventh minute but the striker’s effort was blocked by Kwambe inside the box.
The game was filled with real intensity as Lobi Stars created two chances through their full-backs. First, John Lazarus’ cross was met by an unprepared Michael Stephen in the eighth minute who flicked it over before Sunny Akleche volleyed Udochukwu Anumudu’s free-kick over two minutes later.
In the 14th minutes, Uchebo had a chance to put Rangers in front but the 2014 World Cup star was denied from point-blank range by Ospino after he had robbed defender Monsuru Bashiru off the ball.
With four minutes left in the first half, Rangers were presented with a free kick opportunity from the sort of range that left-back Ugwu Uwadiegwu delights in. His well-struck effort, however, went just inches over the crossbar.
The deadlock was however broken when former Akwa United man Kelly Kester was penalized for fouling Ibrahim Ajani inside the box and Aguda took the responsibility and sent Ospino Egbe the wrong direction.
However, Kwambe’s trademark free-kick in the stoppage time pegged back Rangers and ensured picked second away point in a roll.
Rangers remain top of Group A and in fact extended their lead at the top to four points while Lobi Stars remain fourth with 22 points, six adrift of Rangers’ 28. Both teams have home fixtures on Easter Sunday.
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