Looking ahead at the Aiteo Cup semi-finals

The Aiteo Cup semi-finals for this year are scheduled for Wednesday, October 10th. Kano Pillars will play Katsina United while Enugu Rangers will clash with Nasarawa United. The winners will meet in the big final.

Katsina United defeated Kwara United 3:1 in the quarter-finals, after a tough contest to book their place in the semis. On the other hand, Kano Pillars managed to beat Enyimba, who had previously lifted the Aiteo Cup four times. Even though they conceded first, they managed to defeat them 4:2 in the end.

Aiteo Cup (www.thenff.com)

Aiteo Cup (www.thenff.com)

Katsina United are yet to suffer a defeat in their last three cup games but Kano Pillars will be confident after already beating Katsina twice this season and drawing once. Pundits expect that the midfield will decide who will progress to the finals. Anything is possible this close to the big game and this will be the first time these two teams meet in the Aiteo Cup. The venue will be the Agege Stadium in Lagos and both coaches think it will be an interesting encounter since, as they claim, both teams play attractive football. Their form in the Cup suggests it will be a tight matchup: both teams have five wins and one defeat in the last six matches.

The other semi-final matchup is between the Enugu Rangers and Nasarawa United. The venue will be the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano. The Rangers, known as the Flying Antelopes, beat Akwa United, last years Cup winners, in the quarter-finals.  It wasn’t an easy win since they had to beat the holders at a penalty shootout, which they did with a 4:2 score. Nasarawa United scored late on Thursday to beat the El-Kanemi Warriors and progress into the semis.

Both the Rangers and Nasarawa will be happy to have made it this far and will know the stakes of the game. The Flying Antelopes last won the Cup over 30 years ago, and the Solid Miners, as Nasarawa United are known, will aim to stop them in doing so this year. Confidence will be high in the Miners camp, as they have already beaten the Antelopes in the league this season. Enugu Rangers are keen to get some payback in the Cup, since they were not given the chance to do so in the League.

The final of the Aiteo Cup is scheduled for October 24th and will be played in Asaba, at the Stephen Keshi Stadium. On Wednesday night, we will know which two teams will fight it out in the big final.

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