Rangers International FC of Enugu on Wednesday, pulled a miraculous comeback from three goals down to win Kano Pilars and take home the 2018 Aiteo Cup. It was the first football match ever played at the Steven Keshi Stadium in Asaba, and what a game it was! Some fans even dubbed it ‘the miracle of Asaba.’
Play By Play
The first five minutes of the first half, set the tone for the next 70 minutes of the game that would see Pillars dominate the Rangers and come within an inch of the well-sort 2018 Aiteo Cup.
Rabiu Ali, put the Pillars on the scoreboard 5 minutes into the game, after he briskly moved past two Rangers defenders to drive the ball home. The next minutes of the game saw the Rangers relegated to their half of the pitch, as a very hungry Pillars team dominated the midfield, sending their best men alongside heavy shots into the Rangers territory.
In the 20th minute, Pillars got their second goal, following a slip-up by Rangers goalkeeper, Femi Thomas, who parried Alhassan Ibrahim’s corner into the net. Pillars got their third goal in the 47th minute when striker Nwagua Nymar, took advantage of a loop hole in the Rangers defense.
With only 15 minutes of play time left, the Rangers found a new strength, and with it began their quest to equalize at all cost. Midfielder, Kelvin Itoya opened scoring for the Rangers with a stunning display from outside the 18 yard box.
Chidera Ezeh, reduced the goal deficit in the 82nd minute, when he scored, following a beautiful counter attack. In the 92nd minute, Rangers star, Ajani Ibrahim, put the final piece of the puzzle together to bring the scores 3-3 — taking the game into the penalty rounds.
Pillars went on to lose two out of five penalties, leaving Rangers who scored all, with the last laugh and the 2018 Aiteo Cup.