Rangers head coach Gbenga Ogunbote claims playing with a man down contributed to his side’s 2-1 defeat against Bendel Insurance in their rescheduled Nigeria Professional Football League encounter in Benin on Thursday.
The Flying Antelopes were reduced to 10-men when their top marksman Seka Pascal was shown a straight red card in the 21st minute for an off the ball incident.
It was Rangers’ first defeat in 14 NPFL games and their second of the campaign.
“It was a good game that we should have earned a respectable result, but for the sending off of our top marksman,” Ogunbote told reporters after the game.
“Playing a man less for over seventy minutes of the game was very tasking. However, we leave with the positives from the match going forward.
“We are not under any pressure. It was unfortunate that we have to drop our unbeaten run this way, but we hope to start another round of unbeaten run.”
Osaghae Junior opened scoring for the hosts on 35 minutes after some hesitant defending by Rangers back line, but the home celebration lasted only four minutes as Kelvin Itoya restored parity for the seven-time champions with a looping header on 39 minutes.
Efforts by both sides to increase the tally failed to yield any dividend as both sides retired to the dressing room on equal basis.
Eight minutes into the second stanza, Stephen Sodje’ connecting header from a corner kick found its way past Nana Bonsu for what turned out to be the match winner.
Rangers, with a game in hand, lead Group A with 31 points from 15 matches, six points more than second placed Enyimba.