Ilaji FC

It was a revengeful evening yesterday at the Lekan Salami Sports Complex as Ilaji FC defeated 3SC to win its first-ever FA Cup Finals in the state. The NLO side emerged champions after edging the NPFL side through a 5-4 penalty shootout. This was after both teams had played a 3-3 draw.

The win by Ilaji FC, formed in 2017, put smiles on the faces of the entire team and its supporters as a sweet revenge for the 0-1 it suffered in the hands of the Oluyole soccer lords in the 2023 edition.

Ilaji FC

Shooting Stars had opened the scoring through Pepo in the 14th minute while Babalola Okikiola equalized for the coach Babatunde Odubola boys in the 30th minute. Okikiola got his second goal 2 minutes later to give Ilaji FC the lead as the first half ended 2-1. Shooting Stars captain Taofeek Malomo equalized for the Oluyole Warriors in the 63rd minute.

Brace FM reported that Babalola Okikiola completed his hattrick in the 65th minute to give Ilaji FC the lead once again, Ayobami Junior ensured the lead was short-lived by scoring a stunner in the 70th minute as both teams settled for a 3-3 draw in the regulation time.

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Both teams, sponsored by Sanusi and Oyo State respectively, will represent Oyo State at the National Federation Cup later this year.

Known for his untiring efforts at discovering talents at his globally-renowned Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort, a jubilant Sanusi, while savouring the moment, described the victory as commendable and inspiring for his boys.

According to him, “I am happy our team, Ilaji FC made us proud by emerging victorious in this year’s FA Cup. They have been appearing at the FA finals before now but somehow, they have emerged runners-up but today, we are the Champions.

“The Coach, Babatunde Odubola, all the technical team and coaching crew including supporting staff and the players themselves deserve our special appreciation. They have done us proud and our efforts on the team are yielding fruits.

“It is a day to remember for good; not only that today is Easter Sunday when all of us are celebrating our Lord Jesus Christ, it is also a day in history that would go down as a watershed one for Ilaji FC.

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“Special thanks to the officials of today’s match and our supporters across the length and breadth of Ibadanland and beyond. Shooting Stars is also my darling Team as a major stakeholder in sports development in Ibadan, Oyo State and Nigeria as a whole.

“There is no Victor, and no vanquish. It is all for football development. God bless everyone who made this possible for us. We will continue to contribute our quotas towards the development of our youths and general wellbeing of our dear State,” Sanusi, who is Jagun Olubadan of Ibadanland, added.

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