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Bendel Insurance FC retains Edo FA Cup

Posted : 01 April 2024

Bendel Insurance Football Club of Benin have once again been crowned champions of the Edo FA Cup after a resounding 3-1 victory over Ine Stars of Benin at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.

The Benin Arsenals entered the game against Ine Stars FC as both state and national defending champions, having defeated their feeder team 3-0 last year to emerge victorious.

Left-back, midfielder convert, and utility player Evans Ogbonda inspired the Benin Arsenals to victory over the stubborn amateur side in the final duel with a brace to help Insurance FC.

Ogbonda opened the scoring for the Benin Arsenals in the 36th minute of play when he calmly nodded in a fine cross from Dede Moughara from the left flank to break down Ine Stars' resistance.

Coach Greg Imhenoba, unsatisfied with the performance and result, made changes and tactical switches at the start of the second half, bringing in Obata for Divine Meyinwa and later introducing Meyinwa Oritseweyimin, who eventually made his presence felt with a chip to make it 2-0 in the 72nd minute.

The amateur side also made significant substitutions, as former Insurance midfield star Odumosun Bayo made his presence felt with his through pass that helped Peter Aluanda pull a goal back in the 81st minute, restoring hope for his Ine Stars.

In the 84th minute of play, the Benin Arsenals stepped up their game, gaining more possession as captain Efe Enabulele's line-breaking pass went past Ine Stars' goalkeeper, leaving Evans Ogbonda with a clear chance to fire in a close-range shot, which shook the net, sending Insurance fans into wide jubilation.

Speaking after the encounter, Bendel Insurance coach Greg Ikhenoba, who led the team to victory in the absence of his boss Monday Odigie, ascribed his team's success to God. He maintained that the Bendel Insurance team is still a work in progress.

"I give God the glory for our success. In a game like this when you play against the underdogs, it may be difficult. So, we expected a tough match because the majority of Ine Stars players are former Insurance players and some others who came to Insurance for trials before. They know us and would want to prove a point," Coach Greg Ikhenoba explained.

Similarly, the head coach of Ine Stars, Asemota Precious, was visibly happy to finish as silver medalists and national FA Cup contenders. "We knew that the battle was not going to be easy, but we prepared to give Insurance a real fight, at least to avoid an embarrassing defeat, and I give kudos to my boys for their resilience," he said.

Meanwhile, Bendel Insurance FC has kept the Edo FA Cup trophy in their cabinet as undisputed champions since 2019.


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