Bendel Insurance Football Club of Benin secured a 1-0 victory against Sunshine Stars of Akure on Sunday evening in the Match Day 13 fixture of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Benjamin Tanimu netted the sole goal in the 4th minute, boosting his team's confidence in front of their home fans at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin.
Tanimu successfully converted a penalty kick awarded to Insurance FC after a Sunshine Stars defender deliberately handled a goal-bound shot inside the box within the first minute of the game.
Entering the match with a hunger for maximum points, Insurance FC aimed to recover from their previous Match Day 12 loss to struggling Heartland FC of Owerri.
Despite the early setback, the 'Owena Waves exhibited determination throughout the encounter, relentlessly challenging the host team. However, the solid defense of Insurance, including goalkeeper Amas Obasogie and defenders Benjamin Tanimu, Sunday Anyanwu, Ebuka Akonbudu, Julius Emiloju, and Stephens Sodje, protected the early lead jealously.
The 1-0 victory elevated the Benin Arsenals to the 5th position on the NPFL table with 20 points after 13 matches.
Insurance FC will be away to face Katsina Utd in the Match Day 14 fixture next week.
Benjamin Tanimu's outstanding performance earned him the Man of the Match award, presented by the sponsor, Festus Alenkhe JP, the chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo state council. Comrade Festus Alenkhe has sponsored the Insurance FC Man of the Match award for the past two seasons as part of his contributions to motivating Insurance players.
Meanwhile, Sunshine Stars head coach Edith Agoye commended Edo state Governor Mr. Godwin Obaseki and his deputy Rt Hon Comrade Philip Shaibu for their support in alleviating the suffering of their team after the armed robbery attack they endured on their way to Benin for the NPFL Match Day 13 game. The suspected robbers opened fire on the Sunshine Stars team bus, injuring the team's Curator in the stomach, while some officials sustained minor injuries.
"We want to appreciate the Governor of Edo state Mr. Godwin Obaseki and his Deputy Philip Shaibu for all they have done for us since the attack. The Governor sent his people to come and see us and he promised to offset our medical bills. The deputy Governor also came to see us and gave us relief too. We are grateful. They made us feel at home," said Agoye, adding that they are somewhat relieved now that their Curator is in stable condition even before the match.
Sunshine Stars' manager expressed determination to extract something positive from the game against Insurance FC as consolation for their terrible experience, but Insurance proved difficult as usual.
In a post-match interview, Coach Monday Odigie of Bendel Insurance FC commended his players for their determination and resilience. He emphasized that his team will continue working hard to improve as the league progresses.