Plateau United FC subdues Rangers 1-0 at Nnewi to send a powerful message to their former coach and previous conquerors.
Plateau United Football Club exacted a double revenge against Rangers International on Wednesday 2 February at the Matchday 10 of Nigeria’s professional League.
The visitors ran away with a lone goal defeat of Rangers to send a message to the Enugu team and its new coach.
Rangers Technical Adviser, Abdu Maikaba, was Coach of Plateau last season. In the final match of that season, the Flying Antelopes inflicted a heavy 2-0 defeat on he and his boys.
This time around, the Jos lads came for revenge mission against their former Coach and his new team. And revenge they got at the FC Ifeanyi Ubah Stadium, Nnewi, which Rangers is using as temporary home pitch.
Rangers bowed to pressure in the early minutes of the game and ultimately surrendered all three points at stake through a lone goal.
Buhari Ibrahim scored in the 5th minute, nodding home a powerful long throw from his captain and full-back, Itodo Daniel.
Stung by this early goal, the Coal City giants fought hard to equalize, However, a determined Plateau goalie, Victor Anozie, rose like a phoenix to smother all shots.
The introduction of Chidiebere Nwobodo, Shedrack Asiegbu and Elijah Ani added more bark to Rangers midfield and attack, but they did not bite.
Rangers’ Christian Nnaji, Chidiebere Nwobodo, Elijah Ani and Sam Pam all poked the goalpost of Plateau United in what could have counted for goals. These were however technically disqualified.
Anozie, the heroic goalkeeper added to Rangers’ frustration by hugging the ball for as long as he could before allowing play to continue. He eventually got his comeuppance when his theatrics earned him a yellow card.
Coach blames pitch and politics
Coach Abdu Maikaba blamed the loss on the pitch and “the politics of the game.”
“I think the greatest undoing is the playing pitch. I have said it before, we should get an alternative.
We always struggle anytime we are playing here; we are not comfortable with the field. Rangers plays better in away games than we play here.”
He also said the boys needed to learn something about how to play the game.
“My boys didn’t understand the politics behind this game, and we paid for it,” he said.
Rangers’ performance this Season appears to vindicate the Coach’s position on the Nnewi pitch which Rangers uses as temporary home ground.
Of the five matches played so far at Nnewi, Rangers won two, drew one and lost two games. On the other hand, it won two matches and drew three without a single loss on the five away matches it also played.
Rangers is playing at FC Ifeanyi Uba Stadium because its home turf, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Stadium Enugu, is undergoing resurfacing and repairs.
Next Campaign on Sunday
Rangers was hoping to use the result to climb to the top of the league.
Instead, the result placed the Enugu Club on 4th position with 16 points from its 10 matches played so far. The league leaders are Rivers United (22 points), Remo Stars (20), and Plateau United(18).
The Flying Antelopes will travel to meet Wikki Tourist of Bauchi in the matchday 11 encounter on Sunday 6 February.
Plateau United subdues Rangers at Nnewi