NPFL MD 15 Shocker: Heartland End Enyimba’s 101-Match Home Unbeaten Record
By Our Correspondent
Neighbours, Heartland FC of Owerri Wednesday broke record as they defeated champions, Enyimba FC at their home in Aba thereby ending the reigning champions 101 home match unbeaten run, Bestchoicesports.com.ng can report.
Enyimba’s 2-0 lost to the Naze Millionaires is the Aba side’s first home loss in the NPFL since they lost 1-0 to Abia Warriors in March 2014. They were unbeaten in the previous 101 home matches with W80 D21 ratio
Heartland’s gallant display with man-of-the-match performance by goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa ensured that the Owerri ran away winners in the oriental derby with 2-0 victory.
In the last decade 2013 to be precise at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Enyimba inflicted a painful defeat to Heartland at our own backyard. A year before that the Peoples Elephant came from a two goal deficit to defeat Heartland 2-3 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu in an NPFL fixture where Heartland adopted the Cathedral at Enugu as her home ground for that oriental derby.
Basking in the euphoria of that victory Enyimba stormed the Dan Anyiam Stadium with so much belief and swagger that they must get maximum points on the day in 2013.
As early as 1pm ,Enyimba fans besieged Whethdral Road In their blue and white colours singing and dancing, sending shock waves down the spine of Heartland fans and also tormenting the inhabitants of our City.
After two hours of torture, they went to the Dan Anyiam Stadium to continue their enterprise.
The game inexplicably favoured Enyimba . They got a goal against the run of play and as Heartland were struggling to restore parity to the scoreline with about 7 minutes remaining, the police, surprisingly released canisters into the air, forcing the Referee to call the game off abruptly. Heartland fans wept at the daylight robbery but it was too little too late.
Then in 2020, three days after Ilechukwu and his boys broke a five year jinx/ yoke of Abia Warriors on Heartland, Enyimba came calling.
The People’s elephant had dispatched their last opponent 4-1 with Stanley Dimgba scoring a treble, a scoreline that suggests that the Champions were simply in a killer mood. Fatai Osho was surely brewing with confidence that the points were safe in the bag.
Then came the game, Enyimba playing with an air of arrogance superiority and invincibility ,urged on by their vociferous fans as Heartland simply stuck to her tactical discipline
.in the 26th minute the referee awarded a penalty to Enyimba for a foul on Bala. Stanley Dimgba stepped up to take but Ezenwa calmly saved. Four minutes later, Sodiq Abubakar went on a sublime solo run on the right channel, leaves his marker, darts into the box before opening up his body to get an acute angle before unleashing a beautiful curling effort to give Heartland her first goal in the 30th minute. The Elephant park were bemused by that solo goal. Enyimba started throwing men forward and Sodiq minutes later missed what should have been the second.
Meanwhile former Enyimba player Obioma Chukwuemeka had started terrorizing Enyimba from the left channel and in the 46th minute, the pressure paid off. He received the ball unmarked ,glides past his marker and releases a vicious strike to make it two. Enyimba couldn’t decipher what hit them. In the second period Enyimba through olisema, Stanley Dimgba and even the diminutive Onuwa roared but Ezenwa and his defence were capable on the day. The skipper made back to back saves In the 70th minute to calm frayed nerves.
The introduction of Onuwa meant trouble as his vision and passing began finding spaces behind Heartlands back four. Ilechukwu swiftly responded by bringing off the second goal scorer Chukwuemeka who was tired for a defender Balogun. Balogun had specific instructions, which was to police the dangerous Onuwa.
Balogun did his job dutifully following Onuwa like a monitoring spirit and in a matter of minutes the Onuwa effect neutralized, Enyimba huffed and puffed but Ezenwa and Co showed class. It ended 0-2 In favour of Heartland who last beat Enyimba in Aba about 12years ago during the days of Ike Thankgod at Heartland.
The working one is really working.
Chief Barr Charles Ezekwem once again proved his mettle, motivating the team before the game and urging the team to play for the present Government because according to him,” Government is continous” while assuring them, that better days lie ahead.
He also promised a double bonus if the team beat Enyimba and that they duly obliged.
The Naze Millionaires next have a date with Katsina United at the Okigwe Stadium this weekend.