UNN Lions beat Uniben Royals as HiFL quarterfinals begin
The University of Nigeria football team UNN Lions has defeated high-flying UNIBEN Royals from the University of Benin 2-0 in a quarter-final game in the ongoing Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL).
The game played at the University of Nigeria Sports Complex witnessed a lot of drama as the Royals, who ousted the defending champion, UNICAL Malabites, met a resolute Lions’ defence line led by Emeka Alex. StanbicIBTC Man-of-the-Match, Anichebe Elvis scored both goals for the Lions in the 37th and 52nd minutes to the dismay of the Royals’ fans.
Speaking after the game, Coach of the UNN Lions, Ike Chijoke praised his boys for playing to instructions. “I realised that my players were anxious in the first ten minutes of the game, so I needed to talk to them to stay calm because we know that we are playing against a very good side. Immediately we recovered, we forged ahead, and the game started flowing. I told my team that we have to utilise our home advantage for us to secure our place in the finals in Lagos. They did what we planned, and we eventually won.”
Reacting to the prowess of the Royals when they play in Benin, Chijoke said “we are going to Benin with full assurance and confidence to do what we know how to do best which is scoring goals”.
In Lagos, the UNILAG Marines played a goalless draw with the AAUA Luminaries from Akungba. The game which was played at the Lagos State University Sports Complex lived up to its billing with several goal mouth squabbles. Goal Keeper of the Luminaries, Issac Phillip put up a superlative performance to deter the striking duo of Onitolo Jamiu and Salau Opeyemi of the Marines. The Luminaries had a goal ruled out in the 60th minute for off-side while Opeyemi of the Marines also hit the upright late in the second half as Abdul-Khalil Nurudeen of the AAUA Luminaries was voted as the StanbicIBTC Man-of-the-Match.
Meanwhile, the game in Ilorin between UNILORIN Warriors and the FUTMInna Transformers ended in a goalless draw. The Transformers Coached by Ladan Bosso had a goal ruled out even as the Warriors missed several scoring chances. In Markurdi, 2018 champions UAM Tillers had a narrow 1-0 win over the UNIMAID Desert Warriors with a goal scored by Aogo Okwupa in the 84thminute. The Priscilla Vande led Tillers toiled to break a determined defence line of the Desert Warriors, which ended the Round of 16 as the highest-scoring team.
In his reaction, Chief Strategy Officers of Pace Sports, Goodness Onyejiaku expressed delight at the level of sportsmanship among the teams while also appreciating the sponsors for their commitment to youth development in Nigeria. HiFL is organized by Pace Sports and the Nigeria University Games Association (NUGA) and supported by StanbicIbtc, Nivea Men, Bold and Minimie. The second leg of the matches will be played next week Wednesday.