The reigning Nigeria Professional Football League champions, Rangers International suffered a 4-1 defeat on Sunday in the first leg of the first round of the CAF Champions League in Egypt.
The defeat gives them slim chances of making it to the next round, but all hopes are not lost because in Football nothing is impossible.
As much as there were negatives from the outcome of the match there were positive upon which the Flying Antelopes can build on ahead of this weekend’s second leg in Enugu.
Here are three things we learnt the match
1. The defensive problem continues
This season out of the 14 top flight games played Rangers have conceded in 10 of those games keeping clean sheets only on 4 occasions.
The Flying Antelopes seem shaky and vulnerable at the back giving away goals and possessions in dangerous positions.
Wondering what was going through Pape Ousmane’s mind in the build up to Zamalek’s 2nd goal. It is very basic not to attempt on game day what you haven’t mastered in training. He gifted them the 2nd goal if he had stayed on his feet he would have played the ball out of touch instead he attempted an unnecessary sliding tackle.
Remember how Olatunbosun became a world star for almost wrecking Etim’s career. For Rangers to reproduce what they did last season they must act quickly on the flailing defense or risk worse season ever.
2. Space all over the pitch
There is no questioning Imama Amapakabo charisma, technicalities, tacticalversatility and meticulousness as a coach but yesterday, his boys were all over the pitch running cluelessly, playing without direction and plan.
They left too much space between the midfielders and the attackers, they misplaced a lot of passes and attempted many risky plays. They were simply caught off guard and seemed unfit as many were not fighting for the loose balls. They were simply flatfooted and maybe not ready for the clash.
3. They can always count on Bobby Clement
Bobby has scored 70% of Rangers goal so far this season, he has been the dependable guy and has always come to the rescue of the Flying Antelopes when needed.
He has been that guy. He has two goals in the CAF Champions League and both has been his individual brilliance.
For them to stand a chance of making it to the next round he has a big role to play and the good thing is the lanky striker is always the man to call on when in trouble.
Rangers are not out of the competition yet, if they can correct their mistakes and play a perfect game this weekend they will make it to the group stages.