*As OAU Giants, UNIBEN Royals claim home wins
2018 winners of the Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL), UAM Tillers started the quarter final round of 2019 season on a bright note, all thanks to an 85th minute strike from Tillers talisman and Kano Pillars forward Ebuka Odenigbo.
Visitors UAM Tillers struggled in Kano for most of the first 45 minutes, as BUK Stallions comfortably dictated play to the delight of their home fans. The second half saw increased action and aggression from both teams, however Tillers have Kano Pillars, Ebuka to thank for the away win as the prolific goal scorer, punished BUK in front of their home fans with an 85th minute strike to give his team an edge for the return leg in Makurdi.
In Calabar, 2018 season’s runners-up, UNICAL Malabites, couldn’t contain the piercing heat from ESUT Explorers as they lost 0-1 before their home crowd. Nnamani Favour’s 38th minute strike gave the Enugu side, who are yet to lose a match, an advantage to take along to Enugu.
Elsewhere in Benin, UNIBEN Royals delighted their home fans with a 1-0 win over visitors, UNILORIN Warriors, a 56-minute strike from Odion Daniel was enough to close out the game in favour of the Royals, despite pressure from the Warriors from Ilorin.
OAU Giants were proud victors at home over Lagos side, LASU Blazers in Ife. Adeyemi Opeyemi scored twice in the 47th and 90th minute to gift the home fans a comfortable victory.
LASU Blazers will now have to overturn their fate in the first leg, when they take on OAU Giants in front of their home fans in Lagos, or bid the 2019 season good bye.
The league is organised by PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing in partnership with the Nigerian Universities Games Association (NUGA).
The league is sponsored by Stanbic IBTC, Indomie Nigeria and Premier Cool. The top 32 universities from NUGA-member institutions will play over a period of 21 weeks, with the final four billed for the Agege Stadium, Lagos.