Kano Pillars survived a late Katsina United comeback to win a thrilling penalty shoot-out to reach this year’s Aiteo Cup final at the Agege stadium in Lagos on Wednesday.
Pillars who were returning to the same venue where they finished behind Kwara United in the group preliminaries had taken the lead through a Junior Lokossa deflected shot in the 14th minute, before Nzube Anaezemba increased the tally in the 64th minute after an inspired strike.
Katsina United who were runners-up to Enyimba International in the Gombe zone then stepped up their game and were soon rewarded with a 71st-minute penalty awarded by referee Olayinka Olajide following a ball handling incident in the Kano Pillars box.
Timothy Danladi, the man who incidentally caused the first goal would redeem himself when he stepped forward to convert the resultant spot-kick and give his team the chance of a comeback.
And Chinedu Ajanah would complete the comeback just three minutes later when he nodded home a free header to spark delirious celebrations from a section of the Katsina supporters at the stadium.
However, Katsina could not find the goal that would have given them the winner as desperate Pillars did all they could to smother the pressure their fellow northern rivals piled on
Deciding not to go through the rigours of a lengthy extra time, the match officials opted for straight penalties which Pillars won 4-1.
Katsina had missed two of their spot-kicks while Kano Pillars converted all four of their kicks.
The Kano-based team will now meet Rangers International who fought back gamely in a corresponding semi-final clash with Nassarawa United in Kano to win 4-2, in the final of the competition billed for the Stephen Keshi stadium.