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Enugu Rangers: Frankly, winning Aiteo Cup is not enough

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Hard-fought match sees Kano Pillars being routed

By Timi Obafemi

 

For many Nigerian football scene watchers, it was indeed a historic victory that was secured on Wednesday when Enugu Rangers bounced back from a 0-3 first leg defeat to eventually claim the 2018 Aiteo Cup, while at the same time breaking a 35-year jinx.

In the game that was played at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, the Flying Antelopes once again proved that a football game is really not over until the blast of the final whistle. And what sweet victory indeed it is.

Indeed well into the second half, expectations at the stadium were that Kano Pillars was indeed set to go home as the crowned champions of the 2018 edition of Nigeria’s cup final. But then a goal from Kelvin Itoya in the 77th minutes, another five minutes later from Chidera Ezeh and a final one from substitute Ajani Ibrahim closed the game with a combined tally of Rangers 3, Pillars 3.

At the close of the day, nd the match was decided with a penalty shoot-out with Rangers closing this segment 4 –2.

The hard-fought victory earns Rangers the N25 million star prize at stake and a place as Nigeria’s representative in next year’s CAF Confederation Cup tournament.

But this is only the beginning as, given Nigeria’s not too impressive performance on the continental clubsides turf in recent years, Rangers have to literally return to the drawing board, commencing now, if they really plan to bring any glory back to Africa’s most populous nation next year.

 

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