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Etoile dent Rangers’ semifinals ambition in Enugu

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Enugu Rangers’ Michael Uchebo (centre) in an aerial battle with Etoile du Sahel’s Aouachi and Ben Amor (right) during their CAF Confederation Cup group match at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu…yesterday. PHOTO: RANGERS MEDIA.

Enugu Rangers’ hope of playing in the semifinals of the on-going CXFA Confederation Cup got a huge dent yesterday when visiting Etoile du Sahel beat the Flying Antelopes 2-0 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.

Rangers lost the reverse fixture 1-2 last week to the Tunisians in Sousse, but their performance in that game gave their supporters hope of a big win at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.

Before yesterday’s game played in the blazing sun by 2.00 p.m. due to television demands, Rangers were second on the table and needed a win to climb to the top of the Group B log. But that was not to be as Etoile du Sahel executed a masterclass plan to mesmerize the Nigerians in front of their fans.

Maher Hannechi gave Etoile du Sahel the lead with a clinical finish in the 19th minute, but Rangers response after the setback still gave their fans hope they would right the situation with time.

Rangers dominated possession after the goal, pinned the Tunisians back in their half, but their final ball in the box cost them the needed equaliser.

Rangers started the second half on the strong foot again, but despite 61 per cent possession, they could not breach Etoile’s rear. Rather, the Tunisians took the game beyond Rangers in the 69th minute when Isaac Loute clumsily brought down a Tunisian attacker for a penalty, which Iheb Msakni converted with a penanka.

Thereafter, the Tunisian side sat back and allowed Rangers to labour, albeit in vain.

With the win, Etoile du Sahel are on top of the table on seven points, while Rangers dropped to third spot with four points.

To qualify for the semifinals, Rangers must beat Salitas of Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou on March 10, while hoping that Etoile du Sahel will do the same away to CS Sfaxien same day.


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