Poor Goalkeeping:
A major feature of the 2018 Aiteo Cup final was some poor goalkeeping, and particularly the decision-making from the duo of David Obiazor and Femi Thomas. As early as the second minute, Enugu Rangers could have taken the lead, when Godwin Zaki got behind the Kano Pillars defence, but with no imminent danger in sight, Obiazo inexplicably raced off his line, failed to put any pressure on the striker and was only let off after Zaki’s shot failed to hit target. Ibrahim Alhassan brilliantly curled a direct corner kick into the back of the net, aided by Thomas’ fumble to double Pillars’ lead.

Ogunbote proves his onions
Enugu Rangers had earned comeback quarter-final and semi-final victories against Akwa United and Nasarawa United, but they certainly reserved the biggest showpiece for the final. The Flying Antelopes were down and out, trailing by three goals after 48 minutes, but Gbenga Ogunbote had other ideas.

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The coach brought on the trio of Kelvin Itoya, Nana Bonsu and Ibrahim Ajani, subbing out Emeka Madu, Femi Thomas and Ugochukwu Ugwuoke. The changes worked, as Itoya started the fight-back with 13 minutes left to play, Ajani completed the comeback in added time and Bonsu crucially saved Jimoh Ismaila’s effort in the shootout.

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For a sixth Aiteo Cup final in the last decade, the final was to be decided on penalties for a third successive time, extending a now familiar tradition. The 2018 final would have been the biggest winning margin in a final since 2002 and should not have gone down to the wire after Kano Pillars looked to equal Julius Berger FC’s 3-0 result against Yobe Stars with a three-goal lead.