The thirteen-match unbeaten streak of Rangers International in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) was ended on Thursday by Bendel Insurance who defeated them 2-1 at the UNIBEN Sports Complex.
Thursday’s game was played twenty-four hours after the original date of rescheduling after match officials failed to show up for the game on Wednesday due to threats to their lives.
After the resolution of the matter, another set of match officials went to Benin City for the game which went ahead on Thursday but the reigning Cup champions, Rangers were made to play well over half of the game with ten men.
Junior Osaghae gave the hosts the lead in the 34th minute, that was thirteen minutes after Rangers were reduced to ten men following a straight sending off for in-form Ivorian striker Pascal Seka.
In spite of their numerical disadvantage, Rangers drew level four minutes after Osaghae’s goal through winger Kelvin Itoya who was starting for the first time in seven games.
The hosts went back in front seven minutes after the break through midfielder Stephen Sodje and Monday Odigie’s side held on for the remainder of the game to see through their first win in four games which lifts them out of the relegation zone.
The defeat was Rangers’ first in the league since a 0-1 loss to MFM FC in Lagos in a Match Day 4 game on January 23. Gbenga Ogunbote’s side have since gone thirteen games without a loss.
Rangers meanwhile still remain top of the Group A standings with 31 points from 15 matches and will next face Rivers United (who slip into the relegation zone) next Thursday in their final rescheduled game at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt.