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UNILAG Marines 1 FUTA Tigers 1: Spoils shared in HiFL opener

6:32 am AEST 19/6/19
UNILAG Marines
A late header from Odu Robert saved the Marines as the teams settled for a point each at the University of Lagos Sports Complex

UNILAG Marines fought back to earn a 1-1 draw against FUTA Tigers in matchday one of the Higher Institutions Football League.

Iteade Ibrahim opened the scoring at the University of Lagos Sports Complex in the first-half, but Odu Robert cancelled out his opener at the death of the encounter.

The Marines looked promising in the opening minutes with Kelor Smith and Folarin Moses pulling the strings in the midfield, but the Tigers held their ground with fine defensive displays.

Despite the cagey affair between the two teams, goalkeeper Oroge Olawale turned out to be the weak link to the Marines’ defence with his ball-handling and positioning.

Five minutes before the half-time interval, Ibrahim took advantage of the goalkeeper’s lapse with a cheeky chip to put FUTA Tigers ahead.

The Marines began the second 45 minutes with hunger and more possession as they pushed for an equaliser.

In their attempts to answer fans' call, coach Ogunsemore threw Bello Jubril and Pele into the fray while the Tigers’ coach Ajibua Alayode added fresh legs to support his team’s defence.

The game was poised to end in favour of the Akure visitors until Odu Robert made himself Unilag’s hero by converting Fatolu Adeola’s free-kick with a thumping header in the 90th minute.

The goal sent the home fans into frenzy as the Marines earned a vital point to keep their chances of qualification for the next stage alive.

FUTA Tigers will hope to bounce back from the late setback against ESKU Mountaineers on Wednesday, while Unilag Marines will wait until Thursday before battling the Mountaineers with the aim of securing qualification from the group.