The Round of 16 matches in the ongoing 2021 Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL) organized by PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing Limited got off to a good start with matches across four centres.

In the star match of the week, UNIBEN Royals defeated the defending champion UNICAL Malabites by 4-2 in a thrilling game held at the University of Benin Sports Complex.

The game’s Man of the Match, Dirisu Ogenefarme opened the flood gate of goals for the Royals in the 5th 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 has 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 equalize.

Speaking after the match, Coach of UNIBEN Royals, Komi Onome acknowledged the efforts of his team despite the fact that some of them 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 minute respectively while Muhammed Zakiriya scored for the Stallions in the 50th minute.

The game between LAUTECH Hunters and FUTMINNA Transformers ended 0-0 draw in Ogbomoso, 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. The maiden edition of the league in 2018 was won by the UAM Tillers while UNICAL Malabites won the 2019 season.