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UNIBEN Royals upset defending champions UNICAL Malabites

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UNIBEN Royals recorded the first major upset of the 2021 Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL), when they defeated defending champions, UNICAL Malabites, 4-2 in a thrilling round of 16 match played at the University of Benin Sports Complex.

HiFL’s round of 16 matches got off to a good start with matches across four centres.

The game’s Man of the Match, Dirisu Ogenefarme, opened the floodgate of goals for the Royals in the fifth minute before Odion Daniel added the second in the 16th minute. Jeremiah Oden scored the third goal for the Royals in the 27th minute before Ekwochi Johnbosco scored for the Malabites in the 39th minute to end the first half at 3-1.
On resuming the second half, Uloko Simon scored the second goal for the Malabites in the 64th minute, a goal that put the home team under pressure. However, Ogenefarme showed that he had other plans when he eventually scored his second goal and the fourth for the team in the 79th minute to settle the match, as the Malabites could not equalise.

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Speaking after the match, Coach of UNIBEN Royals, Komi Onome, acknowledged the efforts of his team despite the fact that some of the players are writing their exams. “We feel good today. The players have worked hard. Coupled with the exams, we have been having training. We were able to motivate the players on the importance of this game because we missed out on playing in the round of 16 in the 2019 season and this year, we intend to work hard and see how far we can go,” Onome said.

On his plan to consolidate on the win in Calabar, Onome said, “the Malabites scored two goals against us here and our plan is to score three goals in Calabar.”

In Kano, UNIMAID Desert Warriors defeated their host, BUK Stallions, by 2-1. Suleiman Ali Saleh and Uche Francis scored for the Warriors in the 25th and 65th minutes respectively, while Muhammed Zakiriya scored for the Stallions in the 50th minute.

The game between LAUTECH Hunters and FUTMINNA Transformers ended in a 0-0 draw in Ogbomosho, just as AAUA Luminaries and OAU Giants also played a goalless draw in Akungba. The next round of games will take place on July 14 and 15.

The Higher Institution Football League (HiFL) was incorporated by PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing Limited in 2018 with UAM Tillers winning the first edition, while UNICAL Malabites won the 2019 season.

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