Rangers International of Enugu hope of playing continental football next season suffered a big blow following a narrow defeat to Heartland FC in Oriental derby on Sunday.
Rangers were beaten 2-1 by Heartland FC at the Dan Ayiam Stadium on a day they needed to win to remain in contention for CAF Confederation Cup tickets.
The Flying Antelopes fell behind inside the opening 10 minutes, no thanks to bad defending that allowed Chijioke Mbaoma to Nana Bonsu from close range.
The youngster lifted the ball beyond goalie Nana Bonsu for his first senior goal for Heartland after a good lob from midfield by Austine Opara which catches Rangers defence offguard.
In the 19 minute, Rangers created good chance to equalise after Esor Archibong, Tope Olusesi and Ibrahim Olawoyin combined beautifully to create panic in Heartland goal area but Austine Opara and Kenneth Ikwugbado work together to clear the ball out.
Rangers however got back on level terms five minutes later, after substitute Elijah Ani capitalised on the defensive mix up in Heartland back line and retrieve the ball before dribbling goalkeeper Chijioke Ejiogu for the equaliser.
The equaliser didn’t last long as the hosts regained their on 37 minutes. This time Chijioke Akuneto powered a power strike past goalkeeper Nana Bonsu after the goalie saves the initial effort from Bright Onyedikachi.
There was no further goal in the game as Heartland FC defended their lead until the end. With the victory, Heartland remain 12th on log with 44 points from 33 games, while Rangers remain seventh with 52 points, and six points below Kano Pillars who occupies third on the table.
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