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UEFA Champions League

How Warri, Abuja Stood Still for Heineken ‘Cheers to All Fans’ Campaign 

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Abuja, the Nigeria Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the oil-rich city of Warri were pumped up with excitement as the Heineken ‘Cheers to All Fans Campaign train made a big splash in the two cities.

With fans across the world already eager to know the finalists in this season’s Champions League, Heineken made the passionate fans in Abuja and Warri have something extra to look forward to.

In the end, it was a spectacular show, on and off the pitch for the fans and loyal Heineken consumers who thronged the De Clouds Lounge in Warri and the Papiees Meatro in the heart of Abuja.

In Warri, the attention was on the Milan derby, where Inter were looking to complete a double over their city rivals while AC Milan on their part were hoping to turn the tables after a 2-0 deficit from the first leg.

Most fans on the night in Warri were neutral; unanimously wishing the better side to pick the ticket and that better side turned out to be Inter who won the second leg again. 

Laturo Martinez got the goal that saw Inter progress on a 3-0 aggregate scoreline and end their 13-year wait for a chance in the Champions League final.

As jubilant Inter fans partied into the night at San Siro, it was the same festive atmosphere in Warri as Heineken pumped up the excitement for the fans who all gushed over the unique viewing experience.

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‘Cheers To All Fans’ as preached by Heineken was evident as there was a high turnout of female football enthusiasts who commended the Premium brand for their deliberate inclusivity drive.

“I like football a bit but this night, Heineken has made me even like the game the most, this unique experience is so fantastic and I really enjoyed myself with my friends,” a Warri resident, Sandra Achi said after the match.

With DJ Blizz dishing out sonorous songs from his turn tables and Mr Barango hitting his A-game with his Hypeman skills it was a lovely night for all in Warri.

Several prizes were also given out to the fans who expressed appreciation to Heineken and also appealed for a swift return to the city.

On the same day Oris Lounge, Aba and Rehab Lounge Benin were also part of the Heineken magic for the Milan derby with hundreds of fans also served a unique match viewing experience.

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Then the attention on Wednesday shifted to the seat of power in Abuja for the Manchester City and Real Madrid duel.

The Papiee’s Meatro was jam-packed with fans ready to enjoy what was predicted as an explosive encounter.

The first leg encounter had ended 1-1 apiece in Spain a week ago with goals from Vinicius Junior and De Bruyne settling up the tantalizing encounter.

In the same way, nobody would have predicted the 4-0 outcome at the Etihad Stadium, the excitement and fun provided by Heineken in Abuja were also unprecedented; surpassing the expectations of everyone that was part of the Cheers to All Fans campaign.

Not even the light showers on Wednesday could rub the fans the excitement as people from all walks of life who found their way to the Papiee’s Maetro confessed they were happy with their smart decision.

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One of the A fans, Ndubuisi Ikemefuna despite the scrambled DSTV signal caused by rain said he was happy that at last his beloved side City will play in the UCL finals next month. 

According to him, ‘Man City is the best on planet and nothing will stop them from achieving the treble”

Another fan, Obinna Iroji lamented about Madrid’s loss, “Ancelotti did not get his tactics right. We gave them too much space and respect.

“It is totally humiliating for us as a team but kudos to Heineken and Papiee’s Maetro for this lovely and serene environment. It’s ideal place for me and family to unwind”  

Despite the fans’ mix of fulfilment and disappointment at the end of the regulation time, they had a night they would continue to relish courtesy of Heineken’s ‘Cheers to All Fans Campaign’

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There were plenty of gift items for winners and loads of music supplied by DJ Davidson.

Other top entertainers; including Hypeman K. Bumper, lit the night with their jokes and more as fans soon switched into the party mood after being on the edge of their seats while the game lasted.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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UEFA Champions League

How Heineken Made UEFA Champions League History in Nigeria

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Cheers to Hard Core fans of Real Madrid with consumers enjoying the best moment put together by Heineken

Nigerian football fans enjoyed the magic of the Champions League final first-hand thanks to Heineken’s unforgettable Viewing Experience across the country over the weekend. 

Heineken transformed viewing centres into vibrant celebrations as Real Madrid secured their historic 15th title with a 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium.

“Heineken is all about celebrating the beautiful game with true fans,” said Maria Shadeko, Portfolio Manager of Premium Drinks at Nigerian Breweries Plc. “We wanted to recreate the electric atmosphere of Wembley right here in Nigeria, and judging by the incredible energy at our Watch Parties, we achieved that!”

Unbeatable fun across Lagos 

From Lagos to Port Harcourt, Abuja to Enugu, the night was alive with the spirit of football. Fans at the Jewel Aeida on Lekki, Lagos, were treated to captivating performances by music stars like Mia, Dotun, Crowd Kontroller, Big N, and the electrifying finale by Adekunle Gold. 

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While the Muri Okunola Park in Victoria Island pulsed with the energy of the female DJ duo, Wanni x Handi, the passionate crowd at the Lagos Terraform mirrored the energy at the Green House on Oba Adeyinka Oyinkan Ave, Ikoyi, and Stalad Gardens in Abule Egba where fans revelled in the action on giant screens while enjoying Heineken’s refreshing brews

Heineken ensured every fan experienced the best viewing experience possible, all laced with unbeatable entertainment.

Party after party across the Nation

The electrifying atmosphere wasn’t limited to Lagos.  Port Harcourt witnessed a phenomenal performance by music sensation Oxlade at Oak Park and Gardens.

Abuja residents also enjoyed an unforgettable night at Papiee’s Metropolis on Ahmadu Bello Way, where Alternate Sound kept the excitement levels soaring with their dynamic performance. 

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Fans in luxurious comfort at the Transcorp Hilton on Aguyi Ironsi Street also revelled in the night’s festivities.

The magic of Heineken’s Watch Parties extended beyond major cities. Fans in Ibadan, Benin City, Enugu, and Owerri all shared in the unforgettable experience, uniting in their support for their favourite teams and celebrating Real Madrid’s monumental victory.

Heineken’s Watch Parties successfully recreated the Wembley atmosphere, proving that the beautiful game can unite and ignite joy across Nigeria. 

As Maria Shadeko states, “We are thrilled to have played a part in this historic night for football fans. Here’s to many more celebrations together!”

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UEFA Champions League

Real Madrid come full circle with second great European dynasty

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Champions League - Final - Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - June 1, 2024 Real Madrid's Aurelien Tchouameni lifts the trophy as he celebrates with teammates after winning the Champions League REUTERS/Hannah Mckay 

Real Madrid added another chapter to their already astonishing love affair with European soccer’s elite club trophy by claiming a 2-0 win against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final on Saturday as they were crowned for the 15th time.

The story of the season they finished at Wembley was about two generations of players who met, bonded as a group and connected on the pitch like a well-oiled machine to establish the second great dynasty Real spent half a century looking for.

It all started at the dawn of the competition when, during the Alfredo Di Stefano years, the Madrid side won the first five editions of the European Cup from 1956 and another in 1966.

The current crop of youngsters and seasoned veterans have matched that with a sixth title in 11 seasons, although Dani Carvajal, who scored the opener, is the only surviving starter from the side that won ‘The 10th’ a decade ago.

Vinicius Jr, hero of their 14th title triumph in Paris two years ago, on Saturday became the first Brazilian to score in two Champions League finals and is the symbol of Real’s young guns who keep proving they can prolong the club’s success.

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“Why not think about ‘The Seventh’? We don’t reset, we always want more and more and more,” Carvajal said.

The defender, who matched Real great Paco Gento’s record six European Cup titles along with Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and defender Nacho, was a long-time reserve who stepped up this season and ended it by lifting the trophy as team captain.

“I have never lost a final. I hope the streak continues,” he said. “To get our 15th and my sixth is a wonderful thing. As we keep winning … we end up making it harder for any other team to come close to what this club have accomplished over the history. It is something remarkable.”

REAL’S MOMENTUM

In March, Carlo Ancelotti gave a three-minute insight on managing suffering and happiness inside a changing room to explain the complexity of handling the personalities at a club constantly under pressure and held to such high standards.

He has expertly managed to keep Real’s momentum going after Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Karim Benzema and Casemiro had all long gone and with Modric, 38, becoming a rotational player in a young squad brimming with talent.

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Next year Ancelotti will face another challenge by having to replace Kroos, who has just had a retirement send-off from the fans at the Bernabeu and will stop playing after the Euros.

The Germany midfielder said farewell after delivering the corner for Carvajal to score with a glancing header on Saturday.

But Ancelotti, who as a manager holds the record of most Champions League finals played (six) and won (five), did not seem too worried about the challenge.

“We will have to adapt ourselves to the players we have and try to maximize their qualities like we have always done,” he told a press conference.

“This season we’ve had a lot of problems, we’ve lost quality players. We have solved this with collective sacrifice.

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“We didn’t always play at our best, but we never gave up.

“We lose a very important player for us in Kroos, but we will replace him, in a different way. We will think about how.”

-Reuters

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UEFA Champions League

Real Madrid strike late to win 15th European Cup

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Real Madrid were crowned kings of Europe for a record-extending 15th time with a 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final at Wembley on Saturday.

Huge favourites going in to the game, the Spanish side were outplayed for long periods but broke Dortmund’s resistance with late goals from Dani Carvajal and Vinicius Jr.

Veteran right back Carvajal glanced in a header from a Toni Kroos corner in the 74th minute and from that moment Carlo Ancelotti’s side sparked into life.

Vinicius slid home Real’s second in the 83rd minute to silence the yellow-clad Dortmund fans who had created a wall of noise throughout the final.

It was hard on the German side who missed several good first-half chances, the best of which saw Niclas Fuellkrug hit the post from close range.

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-Reuters

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