Lokosa scores twice to sink Heartland in Kano
By Mike Oboh
Junior Lokosa’s brace on Sunday guided Kano Pillars to a 2-0 win over Heartland in a Matchday 19 tie of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) decided at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano.
The goals by the forward were his 15th and 16th strikes of the season as he further pulled clear of the chasing pack in the goalscorers’ leaderboard.
Lokosa scored a goal in each half with his first in the 14th minute off a pass from Auwalu Ali which he tapped in from close range to beat Ebele Obi in goal for Heartland.
He was on song again in the 47th minute of the encounter as he registered his second goal of the day off a Rabiu Ali pass in a spectacular way. This time Lokosa squeezed the ball in between the legs of Heartland goalkeeper Obi.
Though Heartland lost the game, goalkeeper Obi stood out and it was his saves that ensured that the scoreline did not turn into an embarrassment for the Owerri-based club.
Obi denied Rabiu Ali and Nzube Anaezemba from registering their names on the scoresheet. The Heartland goalkeeper dived full length to keep out the ball from his goal in the 24th and 35th minutes respectively.
Anaezemba lost another golden chance in the 38th minute of the game when he had an empty net at his mercy after Obi was displaced but his weak shot from close range went off target.
Heartland’s trio of Kouakou Alexandre, Chimankpa Onwuebuchi and Moses Akinade deserve mentions as they tormented the defence line of Pillars but Orji Kalu and Ikenna Hillary Paul did well to check their efforts.
Pillars piled up pressure on Heartland to register more goals but the effort of Rabiu Ali and Gambo Mohammed in the 55th and 64th minutes of the game did not yield any dividend.
Speaking after the game, the assistant coach of Heartland, Isaac Mbaegbu said they lost to a better side and is optimistic that they will defeat Kano Pillars when both teams meet next weekend.
“It was a good game. Pillars is a good team and as you can see my boys gave a good account of themselves, we will pay them back in the same coin when we meet in the second phase of the league,” Mbaegbu said.
Mbaegbu is confident that Heartland will escape the drop to the lower league.
“You can take it to the bank, Heartland will not be relegated and one thing you have to consider is that this is just the first round. We will make amends and stay afloat in the league,” he said.
Kano Pillars head coach, Ibrahim Musa believes their low rate of accuracy in front of goal is responsible for their scoring just twice. He is however happy to have taken the full points.
“Heartland were just lucky today. If my players had converted the scoring chances they had, it would have been a basketful of goals against them. Well the most important thing are the maximum points and I am happy we got it,” Musa said.
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