Goalkeeper Femi Thomas was the hero as Rangers International Football Club of Enugu booked their place in the semifinals of this year’s Aiteo Cup.
The Flying Antelopes got the better of defending Champions, Akwa United 4-2 on penalties after regulation time ended 1-1 in at the Sanni Abacha Stadium, Kano on Wednesday.
Midfielder, Micheal Ibe gave the Promise Keepers the lead just before halftime with a well taken free kick while captain Okey Odita equalised for Rangers on the resumption of the second half with a poking header.
The contest kicked off tightly and momentum brewed in no time just as a handful of Kano football lovers filled the stands to bear witness to the pedigree of the two sides.
After a couple of missed chances on both ends, Akwa United got the breakthrough courtesy of a brilliant free kick by Micheal Ibe. The midfielder stepped up for a dead ball and left Femi Thomas hanging for his fifth goal of the competition.
Few minutes into the second half, Rangers turned up the heat after two inspiring substitutions, and Captain Okey Odita was at the right place at the right time to head home a flick on from Ogbuke’s free kick.
It became an all white traffic from there on but Rangers were however unlucky to see their efforts go begging as the game went into shootouts.
It was then the turn of goalkeeper Femi Thomas to become the hero, as he saved a spot kick after Micheal Ibe had shot over Akwa United’s third attempt, allowing Godwin Aguda to mark the end of the road for the defending champions with Rangers fourth attempt.
The Gbenga Ogunbote led team thus continued their surge in the Groundnut Pyramid City, which has become their temporary home since the round robin phase of the round 16 – much to the delight of their teeming Kano fans.