Matchweek 1 of the first leg of the HiFL round of 16 lived up to expectations and had its share of twists and turns. An early exit might be on the cards for the defending champions, UNICAL Malabites unless they can overturn a 2-goal deficit in the second leg after losing 4-2 to UNIBEN Royals. UNIBEN Royals took the lead early on in the match with a shot from their number 19, Oghenefarme, in the 5th minute. Odior Daniel doubled their lead in the 17th minute and Jeremiah Odeh added to the champion woes after increasing the Royals tally in the 28th minute. John Bosco helped the visiting team pull one back in the 40th minute and Simon Uloko reduced the deficit to a goal after scoring in the 65th minute as the defending champions looked to mount a comeback but that was not to be as they conceded yet another goal in the 80th minute from Marvelous to seal a victory for the hosts.
BUK stallions lost at home to Unimaid Desert Warriors where the number 9 for UNIMAID Desert Warriors, Suleiman Ali Saleh continued his goal-scoring form from the pre-qualifiers stage where he scored three goals, after putting his team ahead in the 25th minute. Muhammed Zakiriya, No 10 for BUK Stallions, levelled the score in the 50th minute but they were unable to build on the momentum as they conceded another goal in the 65th minute scored by the Desert Warriors’ number 11, Uche Francis. The visitors will look to build on this significant away win in the return leg.
The games between AAUA Luminaries and OAU Giants as well as Lautech Hunters vs Futminna Transformers ended on a blank note as none of the teams was able to score despite some fascinating end to end action. Both teams created some decent openings but ultimately, none was able to find the goal of their opponent.
The round of 16 continues with match week 2 taking place on 14/07/2021 with Futa Tigers set to face Unilag Marines, IAUE minders set to face UNN lions. ABU Nobles will lock horns with the winners of the maiden edition of HiFL, UAM tillers and KSU Steelers will face Unilorin warriors in what looks to be an exciting run of games.
The Higher Institution Football League is an initiative of Pace Sports and Entertainment Marketing in partnership with Nigerian Universities Games Association (NUGA).