24th July, 2012
Chief Coach of Kano Pillars, Baba Ganaru, has boasted that his team are now unstoppable after they defeated Plateau United 3-2 in a keenly contested tie to qualify for the semi-final of the 2012 Federations Cup at the Agege Stadium, Lagos yesterday.
According to him, “We are now in semi-final and I believe we are a step away from the final.”
It was the losers who drew the first blood in the 6th minute through Longji Obadiah. He capitalised on a defensive blunder by Pillars’ defenders, though the early strike did not unsettle their opponent, as they came out stronger in search of an equaliser.
Barely two minutes after, Pillars’ aggressive play paid off as they scored through Gambo Mohammed.
With scores tied at 1-1, both teams came out to fight for ball possession, but credit must be given to Plateau who did not respect Pillars despite their status in the national football tournament.
Pillars created many chances but missed them in turns, while their opponents from Jos were more businesslike, keeping goalkeeper, Afelokhai Theophilus, very busy.
Despite their agility against Pillars, Plateau’s attempts were perfectly stopped on several occasions.
Pillars, however, shot into the lead when Super Eagles player, Reuben Gabriel, scored their second goal from outside the 18 yard box.
Reuben grabbed the ball in the 40th minute and lobbed it beyond Plateau goalie from outside the marked area.
Rather than allow the goal demoralise them, Plateau came out like wounded lions and went in search of an equaliser. The first half ended with Pillars leading 2-1, but Plateau levelled up barely two minutes into the second half.
Reuben Bala, Obadiah and Musa Adamu quickly exchanged passes, which caught Pillars defenders offguard.
Bala however latched on a loose ball and shoot hard enough to beat goalkeeper Theophilus to make the scoreline 2-2.
As hostilities continued, tempers started to rise, while the players of both clubs committed avoidable fouls in the process.
Reuben and Rabiu Ali came close to scoring at a point, but Plateau’s goalkeeper was in charge.
The encounter was a ding dong affair until the 63rd minute when Nasiru Ali netted the deciding goal for Pillars, who maintained their 3-2 lead till end of the tie, and zoomed to the semi-final of the tournament.
Plateau players went away with their heads bowed, while Pillars and their fans celebrated the victory with Hausa songs.