Niger Tornadoes rallied from two goals down to topple Aiteo Cup defending champions FC Ifeanyi Ubah 4-2 in a keenly contested semi-final encounter played at the Confluence stadium in Lokoja on Saturday.
The Anambra Warriors took the lead in the 23rd minutes when an efforts from Lukas Yahaya sailed into the top corner. Former Nigeria Junior International Kingsley Osanga doubled the lead minutes after the restart for the visitors.
The comeback began when Rabiu Mohammed halved the deficit for Tornadoes in the 62nd minute. After so much pressure from the hosts, Ibrahim Babawo leveled the scores two minutes later which eventually unsettled the defence of the defending champions.
Babawo completed his brace in the 72nd minutes to put Tornadoes in the lead for the first time in the game, while an error from Ifeanyi Ubah’s Bamba Drissa in goal allowed Rabiu Sanni to score in the 81st and put Tornadoes in the driving seat ahead of the second-leg.
At the Dipo Dina stadium in Ijebu-Ode Ajibola Otegbeye’s late goal in the first half ensured Sunshine Stars overcame hard fighting Akwa United.
The Promise Keepers came into the game full of confidence having scored 20 goals in their last 4 Aiteo Cup games but they were left undone by a familiar for in Otegbeye.
Otegbeye who scored against Akwa United during the NPFL season in the same stadium, rose highest to head home a cross.
The second-leg of the semi-final matches will be played on October 4, 2017.
Niger Tornadoes 4-2 FC Ifeanyi Ubah
Sunshine stars 1-0 Akwa united
FC Ifeanyi Ubah v Niger Tornadoes (Nnewi)
Akwa United v Sunshine Stars (Uyo)