Rangers International head coach Abdu Maikaba says his side lost to an honest refereeing mistake when they went down 0-1 to reigning Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) champions Rivers United on Wednesday.
The rescheduled Match Day 8 encounter played at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt was decided by a brilliant finish by Rivers United striker Nyima Nwagua in the 64th minute after a well-worked free kick in the build-up.
Maikaba’s side gave a good account of themselves in the game and pushed the CAF Confederation Cup campaigners all the way but that moment defined it in the end.
“It was a good game from both sides and I think it was a good showcase for Nigerian football,” began Abdu Maikaba to www.aclsports.com
“If not for the mistake of the referee, I don’t think we would have conceded that goal. I wouldn’t say she had done it deliberately because it was our foul but she gave it the other way.
“Even with that, we ought to equalise but I can say it was not our day. We played very well, the boys played to instructions and I believe it’s a sign of improvement,” he added.
Wednesday’s win takes Rivers United to second spot in Group B, just one point behind leaders Lobi Stars ahead of the second stanza of the league which begins on Sunday.
Rangers however are fourth from bottom, six points adrift of the third playoff spot. Maikaba believes a top three finish is not beneath his side.
“Qualifying for the Super Six is not going to be an easy task. If a team can give us a gap of nine ten points from nine games in the first round then we also can do the same in the second round,” said the former Akwa United head coach.
Rangers have added a few players to their ranks during the mid-season including the duo of Austin Osayande and Leonard Ugochukwu Aputaziem who were listed for Wednesday’s game against Rivers United.
Picture: Amos Atanakpa