The Solid Miners’ victory courtesy of Kabiru Balogun last-gasp strike ensured that they joined Katsina United and Enugu Rangers in the last four with the tie involving Enyimba and Kano Pillars producing the final semi-final slot when it is decided on Sunday in Gombe.
Kabiru Dogo’s led Nasarawa United and El kanemi players played an exciting quarter-final tie and the fans at the Enyimba International Stadium, Aba were at the edge of their seats throughout the duration of the game.
El Kanemi started strongly and could have scored at least a goal inside the opening 10 minutes but Michael Ohanu fluffed an opportunity that was presented to him on the platter while Nojeemm Olukokun also missed a sitter from four yards with the net at his mercy in the dying minutes of the first half which could have given Nasarawa United the ascendancy ahead of the second half.
The second half was like the first with both teams contented with sizing up each other and waiting for the right moment to go on the counterattack but the Solid Miners finally broke the deadlock in the dying minutes of the game when Balogun struck after a beautiful work from the midfield and it was the way the game ended.
Nasarawa United are through to the semi-final again for the first time since 2016 when they were beaten in the final by FC Ifeanyi Ubah on penalties and they will be eyeing their first major title.
Earlier, Katsina United and Enugu Rangers also got their tickets to the semi-final of the prestigious club competition when they beat Kwara United and Akwa United in the quarter-final played in Lagos and Kano respectively.
The Chanji Boys stopped the impressive run of Kwara United with a 3-1 win at the Agege Stadium, Lagos through the goals of Destiny Ashadi, Tasiu Lawal and Martin Ursule while the Flying Antelopes needed to come back from a goal down before beating the defending champions, Akwa United on penalties at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano.
The Promise Keepers raced into the lead through Michael Ibe’s delectable free-kick in the 45th minute before the veteran defender, Okey Odita restored parity in the 71st minute to take the game into the shootout lottery.
Ibe who scored his team only goal at the regulation time turned villain when he and Kelly Kester missed their spot kicks for Akwa United to hand the initiative to Godwin Aguda who scored to take the Flying Antelopes through 4-2 on penalties.
2018 FEDERATION CUP QUARTER FINAL RESULTS
Katsina United 3-1 Kwara United
Nasarawa United 1-0 El Kanemi Warriors
Enugu Rangers 1-1 Akwa United (Rangers through to the semi final 4-2 on penalties)