Victor Alonge, Lagos
Enyimba Football Club have moved into the round of 32 of the Aiteo Cup following a 3-1 win against Kano Pillars Feeders in an eventful match at the Illorin Township Stadium this evening.
Orok Ibitham, one of few introduction in a fairly reshuffled lineup, scored a first half brace to give the People’s Elephants a slender lead at halftime, before Bashir Abdulrahaman’s strike later on widened the margin for Usman Abd’Allah’s side, who were playing for the first time since been crowned NPFL champions for a record eighth time.
After an effervescent start in which Pillars never failed to make known their ability to sting, Orok gave the NPFL champions the lead in the twelfth minute when he tucked in a loose ball following an incursion into the box by Freedom Omofoman.
The opponents drew level eleven minutes later, with inspirational captain Umar Shehu scoring from the spot after Stanley Okorom clumsily felled Mubarak Sani in the box.
Orok, however, restored Enyimba’s lead on the half hour, this time with a sublime curler from the edge of the box after being played through by Abdulrahaman.
Abdulrahaman secured the win shortly after the restart, and guaranteed the People’s Elephants’ place in the round of 32 when he picked a perfectly laid pass by Chukwuka Onuwa to blast into the roof of the net.
Enyimba have been drawn to face Smart City FC in the round of 32, with the fixture to be played in Benin on Wednesday.
Enyimba coach, Usman Abd’allah’s said after the match that: “They did very well and I’m happy with the way they played. We rested a lot of players.
“The more we keep on winning in this Aiteo Cup the tougher the thing becomes, so we have to balance it. At the end of the day, it’s just to reach the top.
“Even junior Pillars did very well. They almost play the same style we play and they gave a very good performance.
“At least you have to win to move forward, so slowly we keep on taking one match at a time, but it’s too early to predict what’s going to happen.”
AITEO CUP MEN’S ROUND OF 64 RESULTS
Rangers 2 Tornadoes Feeders 0
Kebbi United 0 Lobi Stars 1
Abia Warriors 1 Heartland Comets 0
Ambassador FC 1 Yobe Desert Stars 0
Rivers United 4 FC Timber Loader 0
Sokoto United 1 Akwa United 2
Walli Flamingoes 0 Delta Force 4
Gombe United 3 FC IfeanyiUbah Feeders 0 (W/O)
Niger Tornadoes 3 Fasbir FC 0
Enyimba FC 3 Kano Pillars Feeders 1
Gwandu United 2 Katsina United 4
Jigawa Golden Stars 1 Insurance FC 2
Police Osogbo 0 El-Kanemi Warriors 6
Setraco United 0 Plateau United 4
Wikki Tourists 4 Qatar FC 0
Layin Zomo FC 1 Sunshine Stars 2
Katsina United Feeders 0 Nasarawa United 1
Kwara United 3 Ben Ayade FC 0 (W/O)
Aspire FC 0 Kano Pillars 4
AITEO CUP MEN’S ROUND OF 32 TEAMS
Port Harcourt City