Security operatives rescued centre referee Hadiza Musa from angry fans after visiting Abia Warriors stunned Rangers 2 -1 in a Nigeria Professional Football League game in Enugu.
It took about 60 Nigeria Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) personnel to ferry Musa out of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium when she was surrounded by angry fans.
The security personnel had to keep Musa in safe custody for over an hour at the stadium’s police post, under serious heat and darkness, after the match to restore calm.
Trouble was said to have started brewing when the referee failed to award a penalty kick to Rangers in the 65th minute for a hard tackle on a player in the visiting team’s penalty area.
Report said it escalated when she awarded a penalty kick to the visiting team for an handball offence by a Rangers defender in the 75th minute.
Earlier during the match, Rangers took the lead through a shot by Fortune Omoniwari in the 10th minute, while Abia Warriors equalised through Emeka Isaac in the 26th minute.
The 75th minute penalty kick, which was scored by Godwin Zaki, gave Abia Warriors the 2–1 lead for the match to then run out tension-soaked minutes till the end.
Reacting later, Rangers coach Imama Amapakabo said it was unfortunate that the game ended on a sad note for his team.
Amapakabo, however, noted that the defeat was a wake-up call to everybody in his team to redouble their efforts.
“I have learnt from some lapses in the team today, and we are going to work harder to fix it and come out better in our next match.
“However, it is a wake-up call to everybody in the team to put more zeal and hard work into our pursuit this season. We still have 37 matches to play,’’ he added.
Coach of Abia Warriors FC, Okey Emodi, said he was happy seeing his team return to base with the maximum points from the first match of the season.
Emodi, however, praised his players for maintaining his tactical game plan and showing resilience against the current NPFL champions.
“We are happy with picking the maximum three points in our first away match.
“We will push further to make this a long winning streak and maintain a positive mentality throughout this season,’’ he assured.