One goal in each half by Maher Hannechi and Iheb Msakni were all it took Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel to shock Nigerian side Rangers 2-0 in a CAF Confederation Cup Match Day 4 encounter in Enugu on Sunday.
The Nigerians were unbeaten in the tournament before their first meeting with the Roger Lemerre-coached Tunisians last Sunday but surrendered their record in a 2-1 loss in Sousse. If that was terrible, the Flying Antelopes produced a rather awful performance in front of their home fans at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium with Etoile duly punishing them.
Rangers indeed made a bright start in scorchingly sunny conditions in Enugu but top scorer Godwin Aguda mis-kicked an opportunity inside the opening ten minutes after a good passage of play. That was perhaps the only positive play from Gbenga Ogunbote’s men in the entire duration of the game.
The 2018 Nigerian AITEO Cup champions deservedly went behind in the 19th minute when Hannechi latched onto Msakni’s pass to power home a thunderous effort from inside the penalty box.
Rangers failed to get a leveller their fans would have loved in the first half as their performances deteriorated to a largely uncoordinated play with unforced errors littering over the places.
The second half continued the way the first half went until Rangers left back Isaac Loute summarised his atrocious afternoon with a blatant foul on Hannechi inside the box, leaving referee Peter Waweru with no choice than to point to the penalty spot.
Msakni, provider of the first goal netted the penalty in the 69th minute with a cheeky panenka style effort. Rangers then half-heartedly tried to conjure up something at the opposite end but by the time goalkeeper Kridane stretched to deny Aguda, it was obvious a defeat was certain for Rangers.
Victory takes Etoile top of the group with seven points, three ahead of Rangers who could slip to bottom of the table should Salitas beat CS Sfaxien in the group’s other game on Sunday evening.
Rangers’ next game will come up next Sunday in Ouagadougou against Salitas.