FC Ifeanyiubah end Heartland’s perfect home record

By Clement Nwankpa Jr

According to a popular saying ‘it is not he who danceth with her, it is he who taketh her home.’

A more popular adage in the Nigerian context states that ‘it is not always the person that calls the police that wins a case’.

The stats might say something different but the Oriental Derby between Heartland and FC Ifeanyiubah at the Okigwe Township Stadium ended 1-1. It was the first time Heartland failed to pick maximum points at home this season.

This result means the hosts couldn’t leapfrog the visitors at the top of Group B log.

Going into this game, the stakes were higher because with Heartland trailing FC Ifeanyiubah by two points, victory would take the former to the top.

The Naze Millionaires made their intentions known from the blast of the whistle putting the visitors on the back foot.

From the second minute when Chinedu Anozie dived to save Chinonso Okonkwo’s left-footed effort to the third minute when Maduabuchi Okereke’s header went narrowly wide, it pointed towards a long evening for the visitors.

In the fifth minute, Samuel Nnoshiri’s mazy run from deep split FC Ifeanyiubah’s defence open but with Anozie already out of position, Ajoku’s goal-bound effort was cleared off the line.

In the 12th minute, Nnamdi Egbujor’s left-footed 20-yard screamer was off target.

FC Ifeanyiubah put up a very feeble fight. They were just there for the taking and the hosts did exactly that in the 15th minute.

Heartland won the first of 12 corner kicks (FC Ifeanyiubah had none throughout the game) and from a training ground routine, Joshua Akhabue finished off Uche Oguchi’s delivery.

At this point, it was a matter of how many goals the visitors would let in as the hosts ran rampage.

Heartland were guilty of not making their dominance reflect on the scoreboard and were made to pay dearly in the 55th minute when Chijioke Alaekwe nodded in Chinedu Udeh’s cross.

That was the FC Ifeanyiubah’s first attempt at goal all evening and they were level.

Heartland fought spiritedly to regain the lead through Okonkwo who nodded Felix Osia’s delivery wide in the 78th minute before Nnoshiri’s effort narrowly missed target seven minutes later.

TEAMS/MATCH DETAILS

Heartland: Chijioke Ejiogu; Uche Oguchi, Felix Osia, Ajong Pederson, Joshua Akhabue, Uche Micheal, Chidiebere Ajoku (Lucky Emariojake.76′), Nnamdi Egbujor, Chinonso Okoronkwo, Samuel Nnoshiri, Okereke Mmaduabuchi (Chukwudi Melody, 66′)

Subs not used: Ameh Godwin; Chimezie Onyekwere, Eta Okon Otop, Desmond Agbekpornu, Ubido Julius, Nwaodu Chukwudi

FC Ifeanyiubah: Anozie Chinedu; Promise James, Chinonso Udeh, Charles Okafor, Jimoh Gbadamosi, Ikenna Cooper, Junior Samson (Tega Ebetomame, 63′), Emmanuel Ugwuka, Christian Nnaji (Nonso Nzediegwu, 50′), Chibuike Eze (Ifeatu Onwugbenu, 83′) Chijioke Alaekwe

Subs not used: Sharp Uzoigwe; Chidi Madu, Bussa Nansel, Uche Onuoha

Stats
Heartland 1-1 FC Ifeanyiubah
Corner 12-0
Fouls 4-13
Attempts 15-3
On target 3-1
Throws 29-14
Offside 1-2
Cautions 0-0