Katsina United fine run in this year’s Aiteo Cup ended today at the Agege Stadium in Lagos after they fell 4-1 on penalties to Northwest rivals Kano Pillars after coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 by regulation time.
Kano Pillars have thus qualified for the final of the cup competition and will face Enugu Rangers, who came from two goals down to defeat Nasarawa United 4-2 in the other semifinal at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano.
The final will take place at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba on Wednesday, 24th October, 2018
In Lagos, it was an action-packed encounter that produced four thrilling goals.
Katsina United started poorly as Kano Pillars dominated the early stage of the proceedings.
Pillars went ahead with an early goal thanks to a Junior Lokosa deflected shot that somehow found the back of the net on 13 minutes.
Katsina United took the game to Pillars in search of equaliser and Tasiu Lawal could have leveled up for ‘The Changi Boys’ on 24 minutes, after Joshua freed him inside the box but his right-footed strike went straight to David Obiozo.
Joshua Agboola would then find space in the middle before he unleashed a volley, but Obiozo was in the right position to deny him with a smart save on 36 minutes.
Katsina United knocked and pocked severally, but could not find the back of the net as Pillars went into the half time break a goal up.
Kano Pillars were forced back to their half on resumption as their defenders were finding it difficult to cope with the constant threat of Tasiu Lawal and Joshua Agboola from both flanks.
Katsina United were dealt a big blow when they conceded another goal on the hour after former Rivers United midfielder Nzube Anaezemba powered home a rocket from about 30 yards out.
Coach Abdullahi Biffo threw Yushau Garba into the fray and withdrew Lukman Muhammed on 65 minutes to add pace to the midfield that was looking jaded.
And the substitute paid off three minutes later when Emmanuel Anyawu handled a cross into the box by Tasiu Lawal and the referee who was close to the incident pointed straight to the spot.
Timothy Danladi took the responsibility upon himself and converted the spot kick with a follow-up kick after Obiozo had saved his first kick.
Chinedu Ajanah restored the parity with a powerful header on 79 minutes off a clever corner by Agboola to throw the Katsina United fans at the packed Agege Stadium into wide jubilation.
Pillars came close to take back the lead with a counter attack on 83rd minutes, but Nyima Nwagwa could not beat Yinka David with his right-footed strike after he got past Timothy Danladi
Substitute Obinna Eleje also came close for Katsina, but Obiozo denied him on 86th minutes as the game ended 2 – 2.
Katsina United’s Destiny Ashadi and Timothy Danladi missed the first and third spot kicks respectively, Obinna scored the second one, but Pillars converted all their four kicks to advance to the cup final.
Katsina United XI
Yinka David, Frank Kappe, Tsawanya Samuel, Timothy Danladi, Ajanah Chinedu, Usman Barau(Yellow Card), Lukman Muhammed (Yushau Garba 67′), Destiny Ashadi, Tasiu Lawal (Yellow Card), Joshua Agboola (Adah Joseph 84′) Matins Usule (Obinna Eleje 80′)