Many fans are still reeling in shock following the disappointing outing by Enugu Rangers last Sunday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.

The Flying Antelopes were beaten 2-0 in their CAF Confederation Cup match-day 4 tie against Tunisian side, Etoile du Sahel.

The shock defeat presently puts Rangers in a precarious position in their bid to make it to the quarter-final of the second-tier club competition.

While no amount of excuses would be adequate to erase the effect of Sunday’s home defeat, Bounce Sports looks at 5 factors that may have worked against the Nigerian team.

 
1. Travel Itinerary

The game against Etoile du Sahel was a doubleheader with the Nigerian team playing in Sousse in the penultimate Sunday having traveled from Nigeria two days before the encounter.

For whatever reason, Rangers did not return to their base until Wednesday to start preparations for Sunday’s all-important game against the Tunisian giants.

Rangers touched down at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at about 9:45 pm last Tuesday night aboard a Turkish airline before heading to the coal city on Wednesday.

Etoile du Sahel never experienced the hassles of travelling back and forth as they only arrive on the eve of the game and got the job done.

The delegation to Sousse, Tunisia is safely back in the coal city of Enugu to continue preparations for the reverse fixture.

2. Kickoff Time

The 2.00pm kickoff time for Sunday’s Caf Confederation Cup game was more of a disadvantage to Rangers.

The Flying Antelopes traditionally play their home games at 4 pm when the intensity of the sun is not so much.

Some night games have even been tried out by Rangers but going into Sunday’s game they had no control over the kickoff time as sponsors and TV right owners solely fixes the start time of games going by their schedule.

Unfortunately, the 8.pm start time in the reverse leg paid off for Etoile du Sahel as Rangers could not handle the freezing weather.

Rangers Vs Etoile du Sahel

3. Empty Stands

The 12th man factor in the stands was not in favour of Rangers as the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium often called the Cathedral was far from being full.

There are suggestions that the kickoff time may have also affected the fans turn out as more fans would have trooped to the stadium in the evening after closing their shops.

4. Injury Crisis

As ably captured by Rangers Coach, Gbenga Ogunbote, the absence of four regular starters weakened the Flying Antelopes.

During his post match presser, Ogunbote said: “It is big loss that we did not see coming. We apologize for this loss and hope to make amends in the remaining matches of the competition. No doubt, the absence of four regular starters was felt in today’s match.

5. Poor Finishing

Though Rangers never had a solid grip of affairs in Sunday's game, they were still guilty of fluffing some of the good chances they created. 

Poor coordination in the third half robbed them of the few chances created as the back line of the visiting side provided answers to all questions asked.

The Rangers front-line will have to be at their best if they are to pick the six points still left to fight for in this group.

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