Isaac Loute made the difference as his long range shot in the 9th minute earned him the man of the match and put Rangers International of Enugu ahead in a much anticipated Oriental derby inside the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.
Loute, making his 4th start of the season put Rangers left Heartland goalkeeper Nwabulu surprised after 9 minutes with a powerful strike from outside the 18 yards box.
Godspower Aniefiok made it two from a Loute corner kick in the 45th minute to ensure that Rangers took a two goal lead into the break.
The visitors started the second half the better of the teams as they showed intent but were not solid at the third with indecision, their major undoing.
There were also misses by Isreal Abia in what would have been Rangers goal but he missed after already celebrating before hitting the ball high.
Heartland FC was reduced to 10 men when former Rangers FC player Orji Kalu received his marching order with his second yellow card of the day.
Speaking after the encounter, Heartland coach Fidelis Ilechukwu said he will go home to work on his team but confessed that the game would have ended 4-0.
While regretting that his team lost the match he posited that Rangers is a good team “We are going home to work on our lapses to ensure that we start another unbeaten run in the league but I must confess the game would have ended 4-0 in favour of Rangers because they were too good at home” he said.
Ilechukwu insisted that they will do everything to win their nex game against Abia warriors at home after they lost a five match unbeaten run.
“We will do everything possible to defeat Abia Warriors FC and start a new unbeaten run from our next game in Owerri” he promised.
A delighted Rangers FC coach, Salisu Yusuf who’s team lost their last game in Bauchi against Wikki Tourist said his team found their rhythm today and showed that they wanted the win
“We created chances but did not execute it well and it doesn’t speak well for a team like Rangers, most especially when we just lost our last game”.
“But we picked a good point today and that will help stabilize our position at the top side of the league table” he maintained.
With the win, Rangers climbed to 3rd with 24 points from 13 matches and will next take on Kano pillars in Kaduna in Matchday 14 while Heartland take on Abia Warriors at home in Owerri.
*Story by by Kehinde Olukoju