Rangers International of Enugu attacker, Ibarahim Olawoyin has admitted he was left with joy and sadness in one match, following his goal against Nouadhibou FC of Mauritania in their CAF Confederation Cup clash at Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, but they could only eke out a 1-1 draw m,egasportsarena.com reports.
Olawoyin hit home a dubious penalty to rescue a point for The Flying Antelopes at home, after Yasin Elwely gave Nouadhibou a first half lead, but the youngster, who joined the Enugu side in July last year, admitted they have an uphill task of reaching the quarter-finals, as they need to win their last two group matches, home and away.
With only one point from three matches, Rangers were in danger of dropping off contention for a place at the quarters if they failed to earn maximum points and, with this in mind, The Flying Antelopes went on total attack from the first blast of the referee’s whistle.
However, Nnamdi Egbujuo missed a glorious chance in the 13th minute when he put in a poor shot from good scoring range inside the box after being put through by Emmanuel Madu, to set the stage for a catalogue of missed chances from The Coal City side.
Four minutes later, Kenechukwu Agu forced Nouadhibou goalkeeper, Drissa Kouyate into a full stretch save with a well taken shot from range, but Rangers were made to pay for their missed chances after 22 minutes, as the visitors got into the lead.
Elwely struck a brilliant free-kick from range, curling round the wall and beyond Nana Bonsu, then came close to doubling his tally five minutes later, after Rangers lost the ball in a dangerous area in their own defensive third, but he could not gather enough strength in his short.
In the second half, Rangers, pushed on by the home crowd surged in search of an equalizer and a winner to put their campaign back on track. Their search bore fruit in the 67th minute when Olawoyin’s penalty sneaked beneath the keeper’s arms after Chinonso Eziekwe was appended inside the box by Sidi Yacoub.
The goal was a welcome relief for Rangers who received a huge confidence shot. They however dodged a bullet in the 71st minute when the visitors missed two back to back chances.
After losing the ball cheaply on the left, the ball was played to Elwely inside the box, but his shot was saved with only the keeper to beat. The rebound fell on Jacob Depode who took a shot that deflected off Elwely, but the effort came against the bar.
The result means both Noaudhibou and Rangers chances of progressing to the knockout phases of the Total CAF Confederations Cup suffered a blow after they played to a 1-1 draw in Enugu on Sunday to see each move to two points after four matches.
Both sides will have to win their remaining two matches to keep realistic hope of progressing to the last eight, with the Mauritanians playing away to second placed Al Masry and home against leaders Pyramids, while Rangers also face the two Egyptian teams in home and away alternates.
Rangers’ lone goal man pointed out that they put in a lot of effort in the final 20 minutes of the game on Sunday at The Cathedral, and lamented that everything they did could not bear fruit for the hosts, and they now head into two massive must win assignments.
The Flying Antelopes remain third on the log, in which Pyramids of Egypt are through to the next round, while their compatriots, Al Masry are second and Nouadhibou last, such that Olawoyin, who played for Abia Warriors of Umuahia in his debut season in the NPFL, admits it is an uphill task confronting his side for them to reach the knock-out stage.
Olawoyin concluded: “I am happy that I scored, but I am very sad that we could not win the match. We prepared well and we were determined to win, but we could only get a draw. I am sad, all my teammates are sad, but we just have to try and win our next two matches.”