WILL RANGERS PAY THE PENALTY AGAIN IN AITEO CUP 2018?

WILL RANGERS PAY THE PENALTY AGAIN IN AITEO CUP 2018?

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

 

Enugu Rangers return to a stage they have been very familiar with. They have been in the final of the Nigeria national cup more than any other club.

 

Aiteo Cup final 2018 will be Rangers’ 11th cup final. The last time the team was successful was the first time a Nigerian cup final match was decided on penalties.

 

At the time, Rangers beat the defunct DIC Bees 5-4 on penalties after a barren draw.

 

Rangers are therefore the first team to win the then Challenge Cup by penalty shoot-out.

 

Since, 11 final matches have been decided by penalty shootout including the very first edition under the Aiteo title sponsorship.

 

Sadly for Rangers, 1983 was last time the club had been successful in penalty shootout in Nigeria’s national cup! In two other penalty shoot-outs, they lost to Stationery Stores in 1990 and Dolphins in 2007.

 

Their ill luck in penalty shootout even extended to third place match as they lost 4-3 to Jigawa Golden Stars in the 1995 losers’ final.

 

Penalty kicks have been an integral part of the cup finals, even before the world adopted penalty shootout as tie breakers.

 

As at the end of the 2017 competition and in 80 matches, including six replays (if that of 1966 which Jos eventually boycotted is included), there have been just 14 spot kicks since 1945. That is not counting the 11 finals decided by penalty shootouts.

 

Of the 14 penalty kicks in regulation time, five were missed. The most pronounced ones were those of Godwin Achebe in the 1971 final which came almost in the last minute and could have been an equaliser for Enugu Rangers who were trailing 2-1 to WNDC Shooting Stars of Ibadan

 

Should the 2018 Aiteo Cup final be deadlocked, necessitating penalty shootout, will Rangers again pay the penalty?

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