UNILORIN Warriors secured a comfortable first-leg win at home against UNICAL Malabites in the first leg of the semi-final matches of the 2018 Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL®) season, in a game played in front of a full house at the UNILORIN Sports Center yesterday. Danger man, Kabir Akanbi, with jersey number 11 scored the only goal in the 55th minute to put the home team in good stead for the second leg in Calabar.
The UNILORIN Warriors started brightly and displayed some bright touches on the ball and dictated the play for some minutes. However, as soon as the UNICAL Malabites settled in to play the game, the contest became more intense as both teams did all they could to outplay each other. Kabir Akanbi’s brilliant effort defined the game as the boys from Calabar could not get the needed equalizer and would wait till the second leg in two weeks’ time to give a better account of themselves.
At another venue in Ife, OAU Giants, showed class at home against the tillers from Makurdi, as they put 5 goals past the UAM team in what could be described as one of the most exciting fixtures of the tournament. Seyi James gave the Giants an early 8th minute lead with a superb strike before Ogbole Emmanuel, jersey number 11 equalized for UAM Tillers in the 15th minute. The game tensed up in the first half with the two teams giving a brilliant account of themselves, OAU Giants Toba James converted a kick from the penalty spot in the 40th minute before tournament’s leading goal scorer Ebuka David equalized for the visitors with a penalty kick of their own to close out the first 45 minutes of the game.
UAM Tillers continued to mount pressure on the home team and it didn’t take too long for Ebuka to record his second brace of the competition in the 61st minute of the second half, but the joy of the visiting team was short-lived as OAU Giants were awarded another penalty, which Toba James converted in the 66th minute.
OAU Giants and HiFL 2018 awesome revelation, Kehinde Oripelaye put the home team ahead in the 84th minute with an opportunistic strike after UAM goalkeeper fumbled a shot to make the scores 4:3, however, the visiting team were awarded a red card after Shuaibu Benjamin fouled OAU forward Toba James, before the Home team took advantage of the visiting team’s deficiency to seal their victory with a late strike from Toba James to give the home team a comfortable 5:3 win.
The second leg of the semi-finals is scheduled for the 17th of October 2018.
The league is organised by Pace Sports and Entertainment Marketing in partnership with the Nigerian Universities Games Association (NUGA). The top 16 Universities from NUGA-member institutions will play 30 games over a period of 14 weeks in a return leg elimination style, with the final four billed for the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos. The winner of the HiFL will represent Nigeria at the 2019 International University Sports Federation Games in Naples, Italy.
Media Officer, HiSL™