The battle for the semi final tickets of the ongoing 2021 Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL) is gathering momentum as the University of Nigeria football team, UNN Lions, yesterday defeated high flying UNIBEN Royals of University of Benin 2-0 in first leg of their quarterfinal match.
The match played at the UNN sports complex witnessed a lot of drama as the Royals who ousted the defending champion, UNICAL Malabites, met Lions’ stiff defence line marshaled by Emeka Alex.
StanbicIBTC Man-of-the-Match, Anichebe Elvis scored both goals for the Lions in the 37th and 52nd minutes to give his side the advantage into the second leg.
Speaking after the match, the coach of the UNN Lions, Ike Chijoke, praised his boys for playing to instructions. “I realized 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,” he said.
In Lagos, UNILAG Marines played a goalless draw with the AAUA Luminaries from Akungba. The Luminaries goalkeeper, Issac Phillip, put up a superlative performance to dissuade the striking duo of Onitolo Jamiu and Salau Opeyemi of the Marines.
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 beat UNIMAID Desert Warriors 1-0 with Aogo Okwupa scored the only goal of the match in the 84th minute.
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.