Nigerian cup holders Rangers International on Sunday inched closer to exiting the 2018/19 CAF Confederation Cup group stage following a 1-1 draw away to Burkina Faso side Salitas.
Returnee striker Ifeanyi George gave ten-man Rangers the lead in the 33rd minute when he headed home Bright Silas’ incisive cross from the right. The goal came just four minutes after Rangers centre back Semiu Liadi – just back from a card suspension – was sent off for two book able offences.
Gbenga Ogunbote’s wards held on till the half time interval though with Beninoise left back Isaac Loute making a crucial goal line clearance to preserve the team’s lead till the break.
Rangers however conceded the equaliser within five minutes of the restart. Ilasse Sawadogo finishing beyond goalkeeper Nana Bonsu from close range to score his team’s first goal in the group stage of this season’s competition.
There were no further goals in the Group B encounter decided at the August 4 Stadium in Ouagadougou with Bonsu pulling off several top drawer saves to help his side secure another point on the road.
Rangers will however rue a last minute missed opportunity when Godwin Aguda and substitute Chidera Eze got into each other’s way while trying finish Michael Uchebo’s pass on the plate.
The result leaves Rangers on third spot in Group B with five points, four adrift of group leaders CS Sfaxien who have already sealed qualification to the quarter final after a 2-1 win over Etoile du Sahel in Sfax also on Sunday.
Etoile are second with seven points and only need a draw from their final group game at home to Salitas next weekend. For Rangers to avoid a group stage exit, they must beat CS Sfaxien in Enugu next Sunday and hope that Salitas beat Etoile in Sousse as the Tunisians have a better head-to-head record on Rangers. A tall dream indeed!