FEDERATIONS CUP: Bendel Insurance Beat 10-man Rangers To Win 4th FA CUP Trophy

A late first-half penalty converted by Imade Osarenkhoe ensured that Bendel Insurance’s defeat Rangers International 1-0 to win the 2023 Tingo Federation Cup, the 72nd edition of the competition.

The Flying Antelopes who played the entire second with a man down, surrendered its ambition of winning the FA Cup for a record 7th time.

The Benin Arsenal win, claimed their fourth Federation Cup title and also picked the last continental ticket to represent Nigeria in next season’s CAF Confederation Cup.

Monday Odigie’s side eventually capped a remarkable season with a trophy after concluding the Nigeria Premier League season impressive.

Played at Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, the Abdul Maikaba tutored side rebuffed all attacks thrown at it in the early part of the game with Detan Ogundare making over four saves while there were two goal-line clearances as the coach Monday Odigie side was the fastest off the block.

While it seemed like the game was heading into the break goalless, a handball in the Rangers box resulted in a penalty for Insurance in stoppage time of the first 45 minutes and Imade made no mistake from the spot to score the only goal of the game and his 10th of the season in all competitions.

Chinemerem Ugwueze who begun the game brilliantly was shown his second yellow card by the referee, Adebimpe Quadrifor for handling the ball in the box.

Coach Maikaba kept faith with the squad that dispatched Plateau United in the semi-final and the quartet of Uche John, Ebuka Anthony, Innocent Gabriel and Philip Clement had to be at their very best to contain the aerial threats posed by Imade Osarenkhoe just as Shedrack Asiegbu, Saidu Adamu and Chinecherem Ugwueze rolled up their sleeves to ensure their dominance in the middle of the pack.

Chidiebere Nwobodo, Godwin Obaje, and Austin Onyemaechi did found it difficult cutting through the backline of the ‘Benin Arsenals’ but had three opportunities that were foiled by the agile, Amas Obasogie, who stood between the sticks coupled with the heroics of Benjamin Tanimu and Sunday Anyanwu in the heart of the defense.

Chances fell for both sides to score more goals with Nwobodo Chidiebere and Godwin Obaje seeing their efforts comfortably dealt with by Obasogie while at the other end, Ogundare’ sharp reflexes helped his to stop two goal-scoring opportunities for the opponents.

Speaking after the game, coach Abdul Maikaba said, “It was a great display of football artistry from both sides but we failed to take some of our opportunities.

“I congratulate Bendel Insurance. But this tie could have gone either way as it was a tight contest. Even when we were a goal and player down, we continued pushing them back into their half but we failed to take our chances.” he Stated.

For their efforts in this year’s oldest club competition, Rangers was rewarded with Seven Million, five hundred thousand naira cheque, while Bendel Insurance recieved the 15million naira winners prize check.

The Benin Arsenal who finished tops in their group (Abridged League Season) recorded an unprecedented 21-game unbeaten run, but finished fifth in the season-ending Super 6 playoffs in Lagos.

The previous three Federation Cup titles won By Bendel Insurance were in 1972, 1978 and 1980.

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