The University of Ibadan Pioneers secured a 2-0 victory over Lagos State University Blazers to secure qualification into the Round of 16 of the Higher Institution Football League on Thursday.
UI headed into the encounter on the back of two consecutive stalemates with Afe Babalola University (ABUAD) Stars and Lead City University Gladiators.
Knowing they needed a win to secure their place in the knockout stage, UI took the game to their visitors and secured victory with goals from Oladieji Abdumalik and Alabi Salam.
The Ibadan-based team started the encounter on the front foot when Ebuje Onuche was played through on goal in the 20th minute but the forward failed to hit the target.
UI Pioneers kept pushing for the opening goal but LASU Blazers’ defence were at hand to frustrate their efforts.
In the 40th minute, Oladieji Abdumalik broke the deadlock to send the fans at the University of Ibadan Sports Complex into jubilation.
Alabi Salam dribbled past his marker before square-passing the ball to Abdumalik who fired his effort into the right corner.
LASU seemed to be awoken by the goal conceded and tried to equalise through Ajose Zacheaus, but the effort of the forward failed to trouble goalkeeper Alao Oladipupo.
Moments before the half-time break, Abdumalik doubled his side’s lead, beating off his marker before unleashing a ferocious shot into the top corner.
LASU Blazers’ efforts to launch a comeback were thwarted by UI, who held on to their lead to ensure their progress in the competition.
With the victory, UI will join LASU Blazers in the Round of 16, who qualified after winning their opening two games to finish with six points.
UI defender Joseph Oluwarotimi was named the most valuable player for helping his side claim a clean sheet in the encounter.