Enugu Rangers won a dramatic Aiteo Cup final after coming from three goals down against Pillars to force a shoot out and win 4-2 from the spot.
The victory means Rangers they have ended a 35-year FA Cup drought and also picked the ticket to represent Nigeria in next season’s CAF Confederation Cup.
Isaac Loute dispatched the last kick for Rangers sending the goalkeeper the wrong way as he buried his spot kick in the bottom right corner.
Pillars would feel disappointed after allowing a 3-0 lead slip with a capitulation that started in the 77th minute.
Masu Gida ha taken the lead through captain and club legend, Rabiu Ali in the 5th minute as he rifled the ball into the roof of the net from inside the box.
Ibrahim Alasan followed up with a second for Pillars with a spectacular goal from a corner kick.
Pillars who have never won the FA Cup, went into the break with a 2-0 lead and must have felt the had the game in the kitty with momentum still on their side.
They picked up where they left off with a goal three minutes after resuming the second half. And that was the point where poor Gbenga Ogunbote made his first tactical move.
The Rangers Boss replaced goalkeeper Femi Thomas and introduced Nana Bonsu; the Ghanaian then shut the goal up.
From the point, the Flying Antelopes started asking their own questions of a Pillars side that now looked ragged at that point.
Injury to Emmanuel Anyanwu further weakened their midfield as Jimoh Ismaila could not keep the tempo for Pillars.
Then Rangers struck through Kelvin Itoya with a screamer in off the upright on 77 minutes.
Five minutes later the lifeline was further extended when Chidera Ezeh netted to bring the score to 3-2.
Pillars then mustered one attack; after a long while on the back foot. Junior Lokosa was unleashed at the Rangers defence after a quick break from a corner kick on the other side, but the Striker’s effort was stopped by the goalkeeper from close range.
That seemed to give Rangers some belief and the fourth official showing 8 minutes additional time, they swung into action in search of a leveler.
And it came just a minute into added time with Obiazor’s diving header from close ranger after the Pillars defence failed to properly clear from a set play.
The match then went into penalties. Rabiu Ali has an almost perfect record from the 18 yard area and had scored from the twice against Rivers United in the early stages of the competition.
This time around he fired high, catching the cross bar but failing to put it behind the net. That was a defining moment for Masu Gida.
Rangers will go on to convert four of their kicks with Loute sealing a fantastic win for Rangers, who have come to be known as the come back kings at this year’s Aiteo Cup.
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