By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Kaduna State only survival of the round of 64 2018 AITEO Cup, Standard FC of Zaria this evening at the Buratai farm (Snake Island), Keffi eliminated 2017/2018 NPFL crowned champions, Lobi Stars of Makurdi 3-2 on penalties after it finished 1-1 in regulation time.
Standard took the lead in the nineteenth minute through Shamsu Sani but surrendered it thirty five minutes later when Samuel equalized for Lobi Stars in the 56th minute of play in an encounter the Makurdi league champions dominated as expected.
Nura Sani of Standard FC was sent off in 70th minute after he was shown a second yellow and every effort by Lobi Stars to make the numerical advantage count was thwarted by the Suleiman Abdullahi, Usman Ibrahim and Shehu Sada marshalled defence line until the final whistle of regulation time which saw the Zaria based side won through the lottery of penalties.
Standard FC chairman, Abubakar Aliyu Mu’azu had earlier boasted before the match that his boys would upset the NPFL side when he said that Lobi Stars have their respect off the pitch, but on the pitch they are just another club as they(Standard FC) are going all out for a win and urged their football loving fans to storm Keffi in their numbers as history will be made on 10th September, 2018.
The former Director of sports, still in joyous mood praised the technical crew, players and supporters for a job well done and urged them not to relent as the journey to stardom has just started despite making history by eliminating the best football club in the country.
“Firstly, i will like to thank the Almighty Allah for the victory. Secondly, our special appreciation goes to the Kaduna State FA chairman, Hon. Sharif Kassim for his immense support and advice, the technical crew, players supporters and Standard family, thank you.
“Today was our day. It was a well deserved victory and the best side won. Now we set our eyes on the next stage and the approach will be same as this big win.
“We were not giving the chance when the draws were made, but we prepared and worked hard and today we have proven our doubters wrong. Alhamdulilah it went our favour .”
Kabiru Jibrin, former Nasarawa United captain who is the chief coach of victorious Standard FC attributed the win to management support and praised his charges resilience and fighting spirit.
“My boys played to my instructions and I’m not surprised that we won.
“We don’t have any preference as far as the round of 32 is concerned. The approach will be same as far as my players play to my game plan.
“Finally, special thanks to the management for their massive support and the entire Standard family. This victory is for the good people of Kaduna State”.