AITEO CUP 2018: DID RANGERS SET A PENALTY SHOOTOUT RECORD?

AITEO CUP 2018: DID RANGERS SET A PENALTY SHOOTOUT RECORD?

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

 

Enugu Rangers appeared to have at least broken the penalty shootout jinx that had apparently afflicted them in the quest for the Nigerian national cup.

On their way to Asaba for the Aiteo Cup final, they defeated Niger Tornadoes 5-4 on penalties after a goalless draw in the Round of 64. Before then, despite being the first club to win the Challenge Cup through penalty shootout, they have been unlucky from the spot kicks.

They lost two final matches from penalty shootout in 1990 and 2007. But more pronounced was when they lost in the third place match in 1995.

Down memory lane, the Enugu Rangers/Jigawa Golden Stars’ encounter of   November 18, 1995, in the Challenge Cup third-place match might have offered little in terms of thrills. But it could earn a place in football record books.

The drab encounter at the National Stadium, Lagos, lasted for 135 minutes. This could be a record as the longest duration of a single Challenge Cup match.

Anwalu Ibrahim shot the Jigawa Golden Stars ahead after he had converted a pass from Habibu Inuwa to beat Enugu Rangers’ goalkeeper, Emeka Ijeh, in the 33rd minute. Enugu Rangers levelled up in the 62nd minute through substitute player, Fred Okpalo.

At full time, score lines stood at 1-1.The mandatory extra time of 30 minutes could not break the tie. Then followed the penalty shootout that was filled with amazing drama.

In the first set of five kicks for each side, both scored twice to stalemate score line at 3-3. Thereafter, one after the other, players on both sides missed from the penalty spot!

There were 11 penalty kicks in a row that were lost, arousing the sleepy crowd that watched with amazement. Jigawa’s skipper Ibrahim Gwadale eventually scored in the “sudden-death” situation to put final score line at 4-3 in favour of his side. The encounter produced one of the longest streaks of penalty misses. The report, perhaps, could have found a place in the famous Guinness Book of Records if entry had been made for it

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