Former league champions Kano Pillars on Sunday outclassed 2014 Cup champions Enyimba in a six-goal thriller at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe to book a semi-final spot in this year’s AITEO Cup competition.
The Sai Masu Gida came from a goal down in the game decided under a scorching afternoon sunshine in North Eastern Nigeria to thrash their fierce rivals 4-2 with CAF Confederation Cup semi-finalists, Enyimba incurring more injury concerns ahead of their second leg semi final game in Casablanca.
Striker Stephen Chukwude gave Enyimba the lead in the seventeenth minute after some good work by Wasiu Alalade but Pillars levelled scores nine minutes before the break through legendary midfielder Rabiu Ali.
Enyimba were then dealt a blow shortly after Ali’s equaliser when goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa was taken off due to injury, the second Enyimba goalkeeper to be injured in as many matches. Friday Achimugwu took Ezenwa’s place and was left to pick balls from his net in the second half.
There were four further goals in the second half with the floodgates opened by Pillars left back Chris Madaki who gave his side the lead for the first time in the game in the 51st minute before substitute right back Ifeanyi Nweke added the third for Ibrahim Abubakar’s side on the hour mark.
While the game looked destined to end in the 3-1 scoreline, fans at the Pantami Stadium were treated to more goals in stoppage time. Forward Nyima Nwangua added Pillars’ fourth before Sunday Adetunji converted from the penalty spot at the other end for his fifth goal in this season’s AITEO Cup.
Enyimba midfielder Austine Oladapo also came off injured for the People’s Elephant, adding to their injury pile up which already has goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai, defender Ifeanyi Anaemena and midfielder Farouk Mohammed in a race to be fit for their CAF Confederation Cup semi-final second leg at Raja Casablanca on October 24.
Kano Pillars will now return to Lagos – where they emerged from the group stage – for their semi-final game against Katsina United who defeated Kwara United last week in their quarter-final clash. Winner of Wednesday’s semi-final will face either Rangers or Nasarawa United in the final.