The Rivers-based Ignatius Ajuru University of Education (IAUE) Minders have crashed out of the Higher Institution Football League (HiFL) after a 4-2 loss on penalties to DELSU Titans in the midweek games. Both teams were levelled up on aggregate after a 5-5 score over the two legs.
The IAUE Minders striker, Abel Eli stepped up to convert a penalty kick to put his side ahead in the 10th minute of the first half of the game.
Coach David Egbiri of IAUE Minders expressed his displeasure with the outcome of the game considering the preparedness of his side ahead of the match.
“My boys had their chances; they also played well and were meant to proceed to the next round if they listened and played to instruction”, Coach Egbiri lamented.
The game was dominated by the IAUE Minders but was levelled up immediately after half-time when DELSU Titans’ Onyekachi Njoku scored in the 46th minute to give his side a lifeline after a brilliant touch in the box by putting the ball behind the Minders goalkeeper.
After sustained pressure from the Titans, the Minders got ahead in the 75th minute through a well-executed finishing from Omodio Great. The goal was short-lived as the Stanbic IBTC Bank Man of the match awardee, the IAUE Minders’ first goal scorer Abel Eli, got a brace in the 80th minute to restore parity after a brilliant piece of play.
Samuel Ekebor, Delsu Titans’ Head coach applauded his team on how clinical his boys were in front of the goal.
“We played like a winning team, and I am very impressed with the confidence and mental ability of my side. We prayed and played hard to get a quarter-final spot and now we can only but think about lifting the trophy at the finals”, Coach Ekebor noted.
The IAUE Minders were gearing up for a victory before the Titans Okwuchi Emerald scored in the 89th minute to bring his team level on aggregate and drag the game to a penalty shootout.
The Titans substitute goalkeeper Fabian Ugboko saved two brilliant shots from the spot to hand the DELSU Titans victory after the shootout.
In other games, former Champions, UAM Tillers were also ousted from the 2022 HiFL after losing out on a 2-3 aggregate in the second leg match of the round of 16 played in Ilorin.
ATBU Bravehearts of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University also lost at home to KASU Crocs from Kaduna State University by 2-3 leaving the Bravehearts to qualify with 4-3 on aggregate, having won the first leg by 2-0 in Kaduna.
The HiFL, in its fourth active season, is organized by PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing is supported by Stanbic IBTC Bank, Bold, LIRS and Indomie.