Draw specialists Heartland held again at home by Yobe Stars
Heartland are still the only Nigeria Professional Football League side yet to record a win in this season after they could not beat Yobe Desert Stars in their third home tie at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri on Sunday. The game ended 1-1.
The Naze Millionaires were beaten at the same turf last Sunday by Rangers but after they travelled to Omoku to pick a point against Go Round, confidence was high that the team would end their winless streak against the Damaturu side.
Head coach of Heartland, Ramson Madu made only a change to the squad that drew against Go Round with Kingsley Salami who started in Omoku omitted entirely from the match and Moahmmed Afeez took his place in the startlist but Yobe Desert Stars coach, Mohammed Baba Ganaru dropped four of the players who started their midweek 1-0 home win over Lobi Stars.
He preferred Nnaemeka Anyanwu, Chidiebere Ajoku, Musa Mustapha and Philip Auta to Ali Aliyu, Shagari Mohammed, Bashir Azado and Buhari Musa who made the Yobe Desert Stars team from the start against Lobi Stars.
Heartland were the more eager side to score at the commencement of the match and they showed this when they had the first chance of the encounter in the third minute but Lucky Emariojake was not fortunate to direct his header towards the net.
The capacity crowd at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri were however silenced two minutes later after Chinedu Ohanachom latched unto a throw-in to slot the ball beyond the reach of Ebele Obi in goal for
The goal jolted the Naze Millionaires and could have conceded more goals had Yobe Stars converted some other chances they created because the hosts became jittery in front of their fans and they could not fathom what to do to get back into the tie.
Heartland, encouraged by their visitors near misses started to lift their game and their several incursions into the vital area of Yobe Desert Stars produced several free kicks but Julius Ubido and Chukwudi Oparaugo managed to fluff them.
The Owerri side did equalize against the run of play in the 33rd minute when Afeez who was making his first start of the season released a venom of a shot from the wing after an important pass from
Lucky Emariojake and despite valiant effort from Itodo Akor to stop the ball from entering the net, he couldn’t as the first half ended 1-1 apiece.
Heartland were presented with numerous chances to net the winner in the second half but they were not composed enough to beat Akor in goal for the Damaturu side.
There was little to separate both teams till the 90th minute and even when the referee added seven minutes injury, it was not until the death of added time that Heartland had an attempt which they thought was their winner through a goal mouth scramble.
The referee initially signaled that it was a goal to the delight of the fans but he cancelled the goal after he consulted his first assistant referee who had spotted an infringement on Yobe Desert Stars’ goalkeeper, Akor who was fouled in the process leading to goal scored by the home team.
It happened to be the last action of the match as Heartland grabbed yet another solitary point to make it four points from five games ahead of their mid week tie with Niger Tornadoes in Lokoja.
HEARTLAND: Ebele Obi; Onyebuchi Onyechefula, Chukwudi Oparaugo, Julius Ubido, Kenneth Ikwugbado, Ismail Jimoh, Fuad Ekeloujouti, Mohammed Afeez, Lucky Emariojake, Nnamdi Egbujor, Francis Momoh (Okoro Ndukwe 50’)
UNUSED SUBS: Japhet Opubo, Kingsley Anunobi, Uche Odeh. Odera Onyiri, John Chukwudi, SundayEze.
YOBE DESERT STARS: Itodo Akor; Manika Usman (Philip Asuquo 46’), Daniel Agwaza, Musa Mukaila (Abdulmalik Mohammed 55’), Moses Tsehuan, Nnaemeka Anyanwu, Chidiebere Ajoku, Osita Echendu, Chinedu Ohanachom (Funam Paul 75’), Musa Mustapha, Philp Auta
UNUSED SUBS: Abdullahi Mohammed, Musa Shehu Jika, Matthew Oshoke, James Odeh.
Yellow Cards: Nnaemeka Anyanwu (Heartland) 27’, Chidiebere Ajoku 69’, 82’, Itodo Akor 90+6 (Yobe Desert Stars)
Red Card: Chidiebere Ajoku (Yobe Desert Stars) 82’
Heartland 1-1 Yobe Stars
Shots on Target : 12-7
Shots off Target : 15-9
Free kick: 19- 13
Throw ins: 26-19
Corner kicks: 7-3
Yellow Card: 1-3
Red Card: 0-1
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