It was a drama-packed clash between Rangers Int’l and Nasarawa United in the 2018 Aiteo Cup semi-final at the Sani Abacha Stadium on Wednesday evening as the Flying Antelopes came from two goals down to record a massive 4-2 win against the Solid Miners.
In the other semi-final encounter at the Agege Stadium, Kano Pillars threw up a two-goal lead to allow Katsina draw 2-2 before winning it 4-1 in a penalty shootout to set up a Aiteo Cup showdown clash with Rangers.
Rangers Int’l vs. Nasarawa United
Nasarawa had themselves in front just three minutes after the start when Abdulbasit Shittu sent in a decent strike past goalkeeper Femi Thomas.
Rangers gathered momentum thereafter, but against the run of play, Najeem Olukokun sent in a glancing header to double Nasarawa’s lead.
Just before the half-time break, Ugonna Uzochukwu pulled one back for Rangers as he smashed in a powerful drive from six yards unchallenged to make the score 2-1.
The Flying Antelopes came into the second half with more confidence and they unsurprisingly dominated the game in the period. They were rewarded for their efforts when an equaliser was netted in the 71st minute.
Two minutes later, Uzochukwu smashed in his second of the game to score Rangers’ third of the game and send them into the lead.
An own goal by Nasarawa United defender in the 78th minute completed the comeback for the Flying Antelopes as they booked their spot in the Aiteo Cup final for the first time in over a decade.
Kano Pillars vs. Katsina United
Junior Lokosa opened scoring for Pillars on 13 minutes as his powerful strike was deflected in by a Katsina defender. Nzube Anaezemba then scored Pillars’ second two minutes after the hour mark.
Midfielder Timothy Danladi pulled one back for Katsina in the 69th minute as he smashed in a rebound after Pillars goalkeeper sent his save from Danladi’s strike from the penalty spot in his direction.
Chinedu Ajana scored the equaliser for Katsina ten minutes later to force the game to a penalty shootout.
Katsina however misfired two from the spot as Pillars – who scored four consecutive strikes – to punch their tickets to the cup final.