Imade’s strike helps Bendel Insurance to Federation Cup triumph

Imade’s strike helps Bendel Insurance to Federation Cup triumph

Bendel Insurance are the new Federation Cup champions after defeating 10-man Enugu Rangers 1-0 at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State, thanks to a well-taken penalty from leading marksman Osarenkhoe Imade.

The 22-year-old calmly converted his spotkick, sending goalkeeper Detan Ogundare the wrong way just before halftime after Rangers defender Chinerem Ugbwueze was adjudged to have handled the ball in his own box.

The Benin Arsenal came into the game as the favorite after an impressive return to the top flight. Both teams came close to breaking the deadlock, but Deputy Echeta fluffed his chance for Bendel, while goalkeeper Amas Obasogie was alert to keep Rangers out.

A minute before the end of the first half, Ugbwueze was called for a handball in the danger area and was shown his second yellow card of the match by referee Adebimpe Quadri. However, Imade stepped up to take the spotkick, dispatching it beautifully to put Bendel ahead.

The second half restarted with Rangers on the front foot, calling Obasogie to action on a couple of occasions. On the 67th minute mark, Echeta almost made it two for Bendel, but his close-range effort was saved by Ogundare.

The rest of the game witnessed end-to-end action from both teams, but the Benin-based side held on for the win to claim their fourth Federation Cup title and their first in about 43 years.

The Benin Arsenals go through the whole tournament without conceding a goal and they end their 28-year trophy drought.

Bendel cap off their impressive season with a trophy after a disappointing display in the Super Six tournament after losing just twice in 28 games, and they book a ticket as one of two Nigerian representatives in the CAF Confederation Cup tournament for next season.

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