Enugu Rangers head coach, Abdu Maikaba is pleased with the response of his players who came from a goal down to defeat Heartland 3-1 to complete a season double over their Oriental brothers in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Matchday 27 played in Awka on Saturday.
The Flying Antelopes were on the back foot as early as the 13th minute after an error from David Chimezie gifted Heartland’s Monday Yakubu the chance to get the better of Goalkeeper, Seidu Mutawakilu.
But Rangers fought back gamely and were on level terms eight minutes later through Ossy Martins who reacted fastest to fire a rebound beyond the reach of Femi Thomas who had spilled Chidiebere Nwobodo’s audacious long range effort.
Rangers would get the second and third goals through Shedrack Asiegbu and Eso Achibong in the 40th and 91st minutes of the game.
Maikaba told www.npfl.ng that he was not angry at his players for gifting Heartland the lead but praised them for reacting well afterwards.
The Coach pointed out that the players made his day with the way they stuck to the game plan and reacted after they went behind in the game.
“Some times you may not get it right in a game and you make an early mistake in game of this magnitude. The ability to rectify your mistake as quick as possible is what matters. It is the hallmark of a good team,” Maikaba said after the win.
“I am happy that the players were not unfazed by the early goal. They kept calm even after conceding a goal and they kept creating chances. They lost some and were able to score some and at the end we got a home win”, he continued.
With continental spots still up for grabs and the race for the third spot currently a tug of war between Rangers and Remo Stars, Maikaba noted that they would be approaching their next league game with the Remo Stars with all seriousness to ensure they pick a positive result in Ikenne.
What does this mean?
Enugu Rangers reclaimed the third spot with 45 points from 27 games. Following the defeat, Heartland remain 18th on the log with 28 points from 27 games. They could slide further if 19th placed Kano Pillars win at home to Kwara United on Sunday.
Enugu Rangers head to Ikenne as guests of Remo Stars while Heartland FC will attempt to grab a third straight home win when they confront league leaders, Rivers United next weekend in Owerri.