Victor Dennis scored a decisive late free kick as Kano Pillars survived a scare to beat Kwara United 2-1 in the final match of the Aiteo Cup round of 16 at the Agege stadium.
Nzube Aneazembe put Pillars ahead with a stunning left footed effort, before another excellent goal saw Group C top scorer, Segun Alebiosu level the score for United.
Dennis will seal the win for Sai Masu Gida when he delivered a wonderful free kick, which comes off a Kwara United defender and into the net.
With United already through after two wins in two, it was Pillars who needed a positive result to keep their Cup hopes alive after losing their last game against Abia Warriors.
The Kano side started the brightest, dominating the opening half, coming close on several occasions to the opening goal.
Adamu Hassan, Chris Madaki and Junior Lokosa all came within inches of putting Pillars ahead but were all guilty of missing their chances in the opening quarter of the match.
Hassan had another chance to put Pillars in front but watched as his well struck shot beat the United goalkeeper before coming agonising off the bar in the 21st minute.
It ended goalless at the break with the Harmony Warriors obviously the happier of the two teams.
After the restart, Pillars deservedly took the lead as a quick counter attacking move saw Rabiu Ali put Aneazembe through on goal and the forward left his marker for dead before driving home a stunning shot into the top left hand corner to give Pillars a 1-0 advantage.
That goal appeared to revive the Harmony Warriors, who began to play better, pegging Pillars back in their own half and it didn’t take long for them to draw level.
United were awarded a free kick at the edge of the Pillars box and that man, Alebiosu stepped up to bend it superbly into the roof of the net.
It was his fourth goal in three matches, and looked good enough to win his side a point before Pillars got a free kick of their own late into the game.
Dennis with the delivery, which comes off a Kwara United defender and into the net to seal all three points for Sai Masu Gida.
With the result, Pillars are through to the quarterfinal alongside Kwara United. Who finished as group leaders thanks to their superior goal advantage.