By Kola Daniel
Nasarawa United took no prisoners as they broke down Heartland 3-1 in one of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) MatchDay 22 fixtures played at the Lafia City Stadium. For the Solid Miners, the result meant they stay within shouting distance of the table toppers.
Again, for Nasarawa United, the win builds on their unbeaten home record following this season.
Abdullahi Aliyu’s brace and a goal from Martins Owolijah were enough to earn the home side all important three points.
The four goals not withstanding, it was a boring start to the game that eventually grew into lively exchange towards the end of the first 45 minutes.
Both teams looked jaded and tired as the rhythm of the game was slow, thereby making the game boring.
Nasarawa United started to find their footing in the game on 21st minute when Chinedu Ohanachom forced the Super Eagles goalie, Ikechukwu Ezenwa in goal for Heartland to a big save.
Two minutes later, Ezenwa does brilliantly once again to deny Franklin Tebo from giving the Solid Miners the lead.
Two minutes into the resumption of the second half, Chigozie Obasi wasted a golden chance that could have doubled his team’s advantage from a promising angle but he blasted his effort wide from a freekick.
Abdullahi Aliyu would then complete his brace on 50th minute following a swift move by Nasarawa United. Silas Nwankwo’s inch perfect pass was stabbed home by the winger to double the Miners advantage.
Heartland poured forward in numbers as they looked to reduce the deficit. Jimoh Gbadamosi was guilty of not converting a golden chance as he failed to nod home Bright Oyedikachi’s lofty free kick on target on 52 minutes.
The Miners capitalised on the profligacy of their visitors as Martins Owolijah poked home from goal-mouth scrabble to extend the hosts lead on 61st minute.
Coach Ilechukwu threw fresh legs into fray with a double substitution to fortify his team. His counterpart Bala Nkiyu also responded with a triple Substitution.
The Substitution almost paid off for the visitors on 79 minutes when Pascal Eze header from Emeka Atuloma’s chip forced Nasarawa goalie, Galadima Mohammed to a spectacular save.
As time continued to tick away, Heartland continued to mount pressure as they looked to reduce the three goal deficit.
Heartland’s pressure finally paid dividend on 85th minute when a screamer from Chijioke Akuneto found the back of the net to reduce the deficit for Heartland in Lafia.
The hosts continued their pressure but the time was against them as the centre referee looked at his watch and sounded his whistle for full-time.
Abdullahi Aliyu who scored a brace was awarded the man of the match by the pressmen that covered the game.
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