Heartland FC of Owerri began their resurgence in the Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL), winning their first game of the season against Bendel Insurance in one of the midweek matches played yesterday.
Just last Sunday, the relegation-threatened Naze side, against all odds, secured a goalless outing against Shooting FC of Ibadan at the Lekan Salami Stadium. Though still languishing in the 19th spot on 10 points from 12 matches at the bottom of the table, the 1-0 defeat of Insurance appears the tonic Heartland players need to launch them back to reckoning.
It was Austin Osayande’s strike in the 57th minute that confined the Benin side to their second defeat of the ongoing season and pushed the Benin Arsenal down to seventh position on the log on 17 points.
In other midweek matches, Sunshine Stars were the better side in the ‘Star War’ following the lone goal victory of the Akure team over Shooting Stars of Ibadan.
After what looks like an even tie in the first stanza in Akure, Moses Omodumueke settled the ‘Western Derby’ in the 73rd minute and pushed the hosts further away from the relegation zone. Shooting are down to sixth on the log on 18 points.
Former champions, Lobi Stars of Makurdi secured a vital lone-goal win also against Gombe United with the goal coming from the boots of Sunday Chukwu. The win move Lobi to same 23 points as leaders Remo Stars . The Ikenne team are ahead on superior +8 goal difference.
Plateau United bounced back from their loss to Remo Stars last Sunday with a 2-1 win against Enugu Rangers.
It was Olawale Doyeni’s stoppage-time goal that secured the win for the Jos team. Moses Adikwu had put the hosts in the driving seat in the 3rd minute but Rangers equalised in the 15th minute via Chidiebere Nwobodo.
Elsewhere, Abia Warriors had to fight from behind to level score at 1-1 against visiting Sporting Lagos. Naibe Akpesiri opened the score for the visitors in the 18th minute but the hosts restored parity in the 84th minute.
Only Niger Tornadoes as hosts lost against leaders, Remo Stars while Kwara United against visiting Doma United ended it a goalless draw. Kano Pillars pipped visiting Akwa United by a lone goal margin.
Abia War 1-1 Sporting
Heartland 1-0 Insurance
Kwara Utd 0-0 Doma
Lobi Stars 1-0 Gombe
Tornadoes 0-0 Remo
Plateau 2-1 Rangers
Sunshine 1-0 Shooting
K’Pillars 1-0 Akwa Utd