Head coach of Enugu Rangers, Gbenga Ogunbote says his side “have broken” the dominance of Lobi Stars following a 2-1 victory at the ongoing 2018/2019 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Championship Playoffs which gave The Flying Antelopes a first win in six meetings against the Makurdi based side.
Rangers raced to a 2-0 lead after just twenty-two minutes through goals from Godwin Aguda and Chiamaka Madu and even though Sikiri Alimi pulled one back in the 59th minute for Lobi Stars, Ogunbote’s side held on for their first victory in the post-season playoffs.
The victory at the Agege Township Stadium marked a first for Rangers over Lobi Stars since 2017 – a run encompassing five matches – and Ogunbote said his side who had given up four points to their opponents in the regular season, saw Thursday’s encounter as “a grudge game” they had to win.
“This is a different ball game; it’s a tournament that everybody is watching and I think we saw it as a grudge game. It was a grudge game from our end, they cannot continue to dominate. They must always be the first time and we have broken it,” Ogunbote told busybuddiesng.com.
The coach also revealed that he is having to manage his players many of whom are carrying various knocks which explains why he had to substitute Ibrahim Ajani after 42 minutes in the first half.
“Football is a game of contact and like I said, we are not trying to make excuses [but] we have so many players down.
“Most of the players playing are not fully fit but we just need to play the game and we want to manage the situation we have found ourselves. Ajani has injury he has to manage and we were acting on medical instructions, Ajani couldn’t have played more than thirty minutes.
“I think it was a good one, we had a good start with him and he gave us the base of confidence and after that we still need another game to play.”
Rangers are next in action against Akwa United while Lobi Stars entertain Enyimba in the third round of fixtures in the Super Six on Saturday, 8 June 2019.