FC Ifeanyiubah managed to see off Heartland 1-0 at home win in one of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Matchday 11 games decided at the Ifeanyi Ubah Stadium, Nnewi on Sunday evening.
In a game that had few dramatic moments Samuel Kalu scored the only goal of the match in the 21st minute for the home team after he from the sloppy defending of the Naze Millionaires who failed to deal with a throw from the right flank.
Kalu graciously collected the gift presented to him after Heartland’s defence were hesitant to clear a throw in from Eric Oguocha and he slotted the ball beyond the reach of goalkeeper Godwin Ameh for the only goal of the day.
Both teams had come into the game at the back of losses against Kano Pillars and Nasarawa United in Kano and Lafia respectively and they needed a positive result to put them into reckoning.
It was Heartland that began the game with more purpose and their early forays indicated they wanted a repeat of last season when they snatched a 2-1 win in Nnewi.
The Naze Millionaires couldn’t create any clear cut opportunities in spite of their early domination and they could have been a goal down as early as the ninth minute if not for desperate clearance from Julius Emiloju to thwart the home team”s effort at scoring.
There was an appeal for a penalty kick in the 13th minute when the away side thought that FC IfeanyiUbah’s Tochukwu Anueyiagu’s hand touched the ball but the referee correctly adjudged that the defender’s hand was still at a natural position when the ball hit it.
Heartland’s Abiodun Thompson managed to get back his marker in the 16th minute in the hosts vital area but his shot failed to trouble goalkeeper Sharp Uzoigwe.
The Naze Millionaires had another chance to score from a corner kick in the 20th minute but Emmanuel Godwin’s header went wide for a goal kick and the Anambra Warriors struck to take the lead a minute later.
The goal that drew applause from the sizeable crowd at the stadium came through a fortutious circumstance in the 21st minute.
There was a throw in from the right flank and it was expected that the Naze Millionaires defenders would clear the ball but it inexplicably fell to an unmarked Kalu who finished the job with aplomb.
There was another great chance from Tochukwu Anueyiagu in the 42nd minute after he overlapped some distance from the defence and his pile-driver from the amazing run flew over the bar.
There was nothing much to separate the two teams afterwards as both were reduced to half chances until the centre referee signalled the end of the game after 93 gruelling minutes.
FC Ifeanyiubah moved to the sixth position with 17 points from 11 games because of the home win while Heartland plummeted to 15th as a result of second successive defeat on the road. They have 12 points from 11 matches.