When the semi final of this year’s Aiteo Cup was made, the following fixtures emerged – Kano Pillars will slug it out with fellow northern flagbearer, Katsina United and they will have their all Northern slugfest at the Agege township stadium in Lagos. The second fixture was the flying Antelopes Rangers International of Enugu and coal warloads Nasarawa United. The dream fixture on the lips of everyone that knows the rich traditions of the FA Cup over the years was Kano Pillars vs Rangers International. Before this dream fixture could be achieved the hurdle in Lagos- Katsina United and Kano – Nasarawa United must be crossed.
KANO PILLARS 2-2 KATSINA UNITED (PILLARS WON 4-1 PEN)
The matches were played simultaneously on the 10th of October 2018, at the Lagos centre Kano Pillars took the lead via a deflected Junior Lokosa shot and they went into the break with that one goal lead . On resumption of the second stanza Katsina United that knocked out favourites Kwara United at this same Agege stadium came out strong and resolute but they were pegged back by the more experienced Kano Pillars boys. The pyramid guys increased the tally with a well worked out second goal that will be a contender for the goal of the year anywhere in the world. The Katsina guys rallied immediately after captain and cult hero Rabiu Alli of Kano pillars was substituted and the flood gates opened and in a dramatic twist the boys from President Buhari’s State turned things around and scored two goals to level matters. There were shouts of legitimate penalty from the Kano Pillars boys but the centre referee from Lagos wasn’t impressed. After 90 odd minutes and a winner couldn’t emerge it was straight to penalties. Kano Pillars came out tops by scoring 4 of their 5 spot kicks while Katsina United could only convert 1 out of their 4 spot kicks.
RANGERS INTERNATIONAL 4-2 NASARAWA UNITED (BATTLE OF THE COAL WARDLORDS)
This is a classic any day, anywhere and the guys from Nasarawa will live to forget how they completely collapsed in the second half of this match. On the 44th minute mark it was Nasarawa 2, Rangers yet to score and Rangers converted a resultant corner kick going into the break. Then the Tsunami happened in a quickfire mode the flying Antelopes ran riot and scored 3 classic goals, a replay of those goals showed that they were a beauty to behold. The distraught Coal lords didn’t know what their fellow coal lords from Enugu did to turn things around, a fifth goal was unjustly ruled offside by the assistant referee.
All is set for the dream final between two teams that have great following in the Nigerian football scene; Kano Pillars vs Rangers International at the Stephen Okechukwu Keshi Stadium in Delta state on Wednesday 24th of October 2018. The winner will pick up the sole ticket for the CAF Confederations campaign. It promises to be a massive advert for the Nigerian Professional Football League.