Enugu Rangers on Wednesday came back from 3-0 down to beat Kano Pillars 4-2 in penalty shootout to win the 2018 Aiteo Cup in what is seen by many as the most remarkable feat in Nigeria’s club football history. It is Rangers sixth FA Cup triumph.
At the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba yesterday (which is the first official game in that stadium), the Flying Antelopes proved that a football match is never over until the final whistle. The victory is Rangers first Cup glory since 1983.
In the last 15 minutes of the epic final, Coach Gbenga Ogunbote and his wards did a turnaround.
When almost everyone at the stadium was waiting for the Sai Masu Gida to be crowned champions of the 2018 edition of Nigeria’s cup final, KelvIn Itoya’s screamer in the 77th that beat Pillars goalkeeper, David Obiozo appears more of a consolation goal.
But five minutes later, Chidera Ezeh made it 3-2. And it did happen when substitute Ajani Ibrahim’s diving header restored parity for Rangers at 3-3.
In the ensuing shootout, effervescent Kano Pillars midfielder, Rabiu Ali, who scored the opening goal in regulation time, missed his opening penalty. And former Pillars player, Isaac Loute, handed the trophy to Rangers with his last penalty for the arena to erupt in the Holy, Holy, Holy anthem of the Enugu team.
With this victory, Rangers earned the N25million star prize at stake and the right to represent Nigeria in the 2019 CAF Confederation Cup.