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AT LAST, RANGERS EARN 1ST CONFEDERATION CUP POINT IN NOUAKCHOTT

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First timers Nouadhibou and Nigeria’s Rangers International fired blanks but picked up their first points of the CAF Confederations Cup after playing to a barren draw in Nouakchott on Sunday evening.

 

The point though will not be beneficial much to the two sides heading into the final half of group fixtures with Egypt’s Pyramids and Al Masry leading the group with nine and six points respectively.

The two sides had lost their opening two matches prior to their meeting on Sunday.

The Mauritanian side, playing at home, didn’t create much in a game that was tightly contested with chances few and far in between.

Their first and probably best chance at goal was in the 18th minute when Sidi Abdoullah was sent through on goal.

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However, the forward could not beat the keeper who came storming off his line, placing his shot wide.

It was the Nigerian side who had the lion’s share of scoring chances.

They tried their luck with efforts from distance and it was Uwadiegwu Ugu who lined up first with his low shot turned behind for a corner by the keeper.

Anthony Shimaga was next with a pile diver from distance, but the effort flew over the bar. Kingsley Eleje was then presented with a good scoring opportunity with a freekick from 20 yards out on the left, but once again the effort couldn’t go on target.

In the second half, the home side, pushed on by a sizeable crowd at the Stade Cheikha Boidiya came back with determination to make the chances count, but their ability to pick the right passes in the opponent’s defending third was always failing.

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It was Rangers who had another golden opportunity to score, this time Eleje seeing his shot go inches wide off target after doing well to create shooting space from a crowded box.

The tussle was centred in midfield, with both sides squaring out for possession, but the urge to score was always missing as the Mauritanians failed to score in their second out of three group matches.

Heading into the fourth round of matches next month, the two sides are faced with must win situations when they face each other in Nigeria.

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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