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Enyimba were, on Wednesday, held to a goalless draw by Heartland at the UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar.The People's Elephant had the better of the first Oriental Derby of the season but failed to make their dominance on the stats sheet reflect on the score sheet. Fifteen shots by the two-time African champions, of which 10 were on target, told a tale of numerous missed chances and a goalkeeping masterclass by Heartland's Ebele Obi.

Technical Adviser Paul Aigbogun made two changes to the starting line-up which earned a draw at the weekend in Makurdi, bringing in Andrew Abalogu and Maxwell Effiom with a view to producing greeter attacking impetus.

As a ploy, it was certainly successful, as Enyimba eked out chances time and again, but labored fruitlessly to turn the chances into goals.

Chinedu Udeagha and Wasiu Alalade both had efforts from distance inside the opening quarter of an hour, but it was in the 20th minute that Stanley Dimgba's curling effort signaled the start of one-way traffic.

Effiom then found himself presented with a gilt-edged chance after Stephen Chukwude's shot came back off the upright. He, however, contrived to hit the prone Obi, rather than the back of the net, from a few meters out.

Obi was on hand to deny Udeagha from distance, but not only was the Heartland goalie pulling off acrobatics, but his goal seemed to be living a charmed life. Dimgba was next to make a meal of a presentable chance, fluffing his lines when he found himself unmarked in front of goal from Chukwude's header.

Both Alalade and Chukwude missed further gilt-edged chances, but perhaps the greatest indication it was not Enyimba's day came with six minutes ago.

Chinonso Okonkwo showed good strength and cut the ball back for Freedom Omofoman. The winger's shot was spilled by Obi at the feet of Alalade bare centimeters out, but somehow the goalkeeper managed to divert the follow-up around the post.

The result, the second draw in succession, tallies up to two points from a possible six. Enyimba will look to make amends when they face Katsina United at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium, Katsina, on Sunday.

FINAL: Enyimba 0-0 Heartland 

ENYIMBA STARTING XI: Fatau Dauda, Andrew Abalogu, Nelson Ogbonnaya, Isiaka Oladuntoye, Benjamin Francis, Maxwell Effiom (Franco Atchou 47'), Farouk Mohammed, Chinedu Udeagha (Chinonso Okonkwo 66'), Stanley Dimgba (Freedom Omofoman 76'), Wasiu Alalade, Stephen Chukwude.

UNUSED SUBS: Friday Achimugwu, Ernest Governor, Yinka Onaolapo, Leonard Ugochukwu.

HEARTLAND STARTING XI: Ebele Obi, Onyebuchi Onyechefula, Chukwudi Oparaugo, Julius Ubido, Kenneth Ikwugbado, Ismail Jimoh, Fuad Ekelojuoti (Francis Momoh 79'), Abiodun Thompson (Okoro Ndukwe 8'), Lucky Emeriojake, Nnamdi Egbujor, Kingsley Salami (Odera Onyiri 83')

 UNUSED SUBS: Japhet Utobo, Kingsley Anunobi, Uche Odeh, John Chukwudi

 YELLOW CARDS: Benjamin Francis 42' (ENY); Fuad Ekelojuoti 75', Francis Momoh 90+2' (HEA)

Niger Tornadoes continue their perfect start of the season, absorbing afternoon at the Confluence Stadium, Lokoja that saw the ikon Allah boys purring up through the attacking gears of a fast-breaking trio of Ibrahim, Erick Frimpong and Segun Solomon Alebiosu. 

New acquisition Segun Alebiosu came close in the opening minute of the encounter,the former Kwara United hammered in a weak shot inside the box which went straight into the gloves of Bamba Drissa on goalmouth. Also, Ibrahim Babawo came close to put the Aiteo cup finalist early in the game, Solomon Owello scraped through the visiting FC Ifeanyi Ubah and released a through pass to Ibrahim Babawo, whose close-range tap went of the bar.

Niger Tornadoes enjoyed the majority of possession and chances in the first half, with Solomon Owello deadly pass finds Erick Frimpong on the edge of the box who fired a low drive shot wide from close range and Sunday Akinmoladun rattling the crossbar with a header early on.

Niger Tornadoes took the lead after 14 minutes when Solomon Owello found the net, latching onto  Erick Frimpong through ball and the Akwanga boy was able to finish past Bamba Drissa on the firing line.

Niger Tornadoes continued to press, with both Nosiru Babatunde Afees, Solomon Owello and Ibrahim Babawo forcing good saves from Bamba Drissa either side of the half the hour before FC Ifeanyi Ubah Godwin Obaje with a powerful shot from the edge of the box after Msonter Tony lay a pass to 2015/2016 highest goalscorer that saw Niger Tornadoes goalkeeper Mustapha Aliko helpless on the firing line.

On the resumption, FC Ifeanyi Ubah took the game to the ikon Allah boys, but the 2017 Aiteo Cup finalist quickly formed a solid defensive wall with Sunday Akinmoladun and Reuben Ogbonnanya blocking most of the Anambra Millionaires offensive run from the flanks.

Niger Tornadoes were in front for the second time courtesy of Sunday Akinmoladun powerful header which saw the ikon Allah boys  in front for the second time in the 49th minute of the encounter after Solomon Owello float in corner kick.

The game had a crackle of expectation around it from the start. At times watching Niger Tornadoes rack up 4 goals in 2 games played so far this season has felt a bit like stumbling across some wild inter-village tomato throwing contest, an autumn glut, all juice and drooling excess. They faced another bunch of dashers. 

Niger Tornadoes made two changes here, Erick Frimpong and Usman Bashir coming into midfield and Bashir Usman added more bite to the attack, combining well with Ibrahim Babawo and Solomon Owello.

With this win, Niger Tornadoes top the Nigeria Professional Football League table with 6points from two games with a goal difference of +4 played so far, while reigning league champions Plateau United occupy the second position with the same points. 

Speaking at the match, Niger Tornadoes Technical Adviser Erasmus Onu disclosed to Felele247 Media disclosed that getting 4 goals in 2 matches was not a magic,

“I resumed few days before the start of the new season and I laid down my plans for the team with the help of the coaching crew I met on ground and the players and we executed it.”

I want to appreciate the players for their understanding of my plans”

Niger Tornadoes will travel to Jos to face Wikki Tourists at Zaria road stadium, Jos on Sunday for their Nigeria Professional Football League matchday 3.

 

Abia Warriors away from home on the matchday2 of the Nigeria Professional Football League season is perhaps not the fixture we'd have chosen but Abiodun Adebayo is relishing the prospect.

The central defender admitted that it's a difficult way to continue the brand new season after the 2-0 win at home to MFM FC but added that he can't wait to get the job done in Maiduguri.

"They don't come any tougher but I think it's a really great way to continue the season, going away to one of the contenders for the title and the only thing we can do is go there with optimism," he told AbiaWarriors.com.ng.

"We can't go there thinking that we're going to lose and I personally am going there looking to get something from the game and maybe even three points."

The former Kogi United lad sees no reason why this midweek's clash won't be as close as both games were the last term.

"We always give them a good game and I don't see Wednesday being any different," he insisted.

"I always look forward to games against the top sides. You never need as much mental preparation, you just go out there and play the best football that you can. The whole country will be watching for this one and that gives you the extra push."

The no-nonsense defender commented on the preseason games and what he expects in the current campaign.

"It was really, really hard," he said, with a wry smile! "We had plenty of games and we did a lot of training. But the freshness is back now and I'm really looking forward to the remaining games of the season and hopefully, it will be better than a year.

The Umuahia Warriors will lock horns with Elkanemi Warriors on Wednesday.

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