Second runner-up at the 2021 Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL), UNN Lions has made bold their desire to clinch the title this year with an empathic 4-2 win over UNIPORT Sharks from the  University of Port Harcourt.

In a commanding performance in the game played at the UNN Sports Com[plex, Nsukka, the Lions scored the first three goals within thirty minutes with goals from Onyedika Nwafor, Ikprama Somtochukwu and Odo Nonso in the 6th, 12th and 28th minutes respectively. The Sharks managed to socre a goal in the 33rd minute to reduce the deficit going into the break.

In the 64th minute of the second half, Joshua Okai scored the second goal for the Sharks to raise the hope of securing a possible draw. But the Lions have other ideas. Ezea Luke of the Lions drew dagger into the hearts of the fans of Sharks when he scored on the 90th minute to ensure that the Lions secured their first leg victory.

Speaking on the victory, Coach Ike Chijoke of the Lions is optimistic that his team will complete the job in Port Harcourt and qualify for the next round.

“Leading by three goals in the first half, my boys thought they could relax but they found that football game is not so as our opponents tried to come back. However, realising the need to be consistent, my team scored the fourth goal to ensure that we won. We will prepare  better for the second leg so we can win in Port Harcourt, the same way we did against UNIBEN Royals last year”, Coach Ike said.

On the new measures introduced in this year’s competition, Coach Ike said “I believe that the new measures will improve the competition because we are now sure of having more players of the right ages that will be eligible to play. With this the competition will be better”.

In other games, LASU Blazers proved pundits wrong by winning their away game with the AAUA Luminaries by 2-0. Yahaya Subair scored the first goal for the Blazers in the 44th minute while Toyin Odufejo put a stop to the Luminaries quest for an equalizer in the 89th with a sublime finish.

HiFL reigning champion UNIMAID Desert Warriors were held to a 1-1 draw by BUK Stallions from Bayero University, Kano. 2021 fourth-place team FUTMINNA Transformers were not feared at home as KSU Steelers from Kogi State University held them to a 2-2 draw.

HiFL organized by PACE Sports is supported by StanbicIBTC, Bold, LIRS and Indomie. The league is in its fourth active season.