Aiteo Cup: Former Champions, Akwa United, Rangers Bundled Out
By Ebube Dike
There were major upsets Wednesday as the Round of 32 2021 Aiteo Cup took centre stage with three Nigeria Professional Football League NPFL heavyweights including 2017 and 2018 winners Akwa United and Enugu Rangers being eliminated at the early stage.
The other NPFL club that was eliminated by an NNL side was Warri Wolves.
Ilechukwu Julius’ 42nd goal was all Gateway United needed to eliminate NPFL table toppers, Akwa United in a pulsating encounter at FIFA Goal Project pitch inside MKO Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.
Enugu Rangers also kissed the competition bye after being edged 1-0 by Bayelsa United while Warri fell 5-4 on penalties to Green Berets, after both sides battled to 1-1 in regulation time.
Abia Warriors recorded the biggest win of the round, trouncing Zamfara United 5-0, to advance to the round of 16 alongside other NPFL clubs, Katsina United, Rivers United, Kano Pillars, Sunshine Stars, Heartland and Lobi Stars, all of whom managed victories against lowly teams.
The tie involving Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan and Gombe United at Confluence Stadium, Lokoja was rescheduled for Thursday, July 8, due to the former’s involvement in an NNL game with Go Round FC in Omoku on Monday.
Smart City 2-4 Kano Pillars
Gateway United 1-0 Akwa United
Katsina Utd 0-0 El-kanemi Warriors.(5-3 pen)
MaiUnguwa 0-2 Niger Tornadoes
Sunshine Stars 1-1 Kogi United (6-5 pen)
Abia Warriors 5-0 Zamfara United
Yobe Desert 0-1 Lobi Stars
Ekiti United 0-0 Heartland FC ( 4-5 pen)
Rivers United 2-1 Sokoto United
Rangers Int’l 0-1 Bayelsa United
Green Berets 1-1 Warri Wolves(5 -4 pen).