Danladi’s Heroics Salvage Point For Plateau Utd In Owerri

Plateau United of Jos secured their third successive draw away from home with a hard fought goalless draw against Heartland FC of Owerri at the Dan Anyiam Stadium on Wednesday.

Danladi Isa was the hero of the match, turning in half a dozen of spectacular saves in the game, frustrating the Naze Millionaires from consolidating on the massive point earned away to Kano Pillars, at the Sani Abacha Stadium on Sunday.

With a dicey oriental derby lined up for Friday night in Enugu, Heartland coach Alphonsus Dike left regulars, Nelson Ogbonnaya, Marcmarcel Obioha, Ifeanyi Onuigbo and Brownbraye Okpus on the bench, fielding Emeka Ogbugh, Fortune Omoniwari and Chidiebere Ajoku in an attacking 4-3-3 formation.

Plateau United, yet to win in four games, began life without sacked manager, Zachary Baraje, following managerial changes made earlier in the week. Danladi was preferred in goal ahead of Ayo Seun, while Benjamin Turba, Salomon Junior and Reuben Bala all made the starting 11.

Danladi was called to action just six minutes into the game, when Chidiebere Ajoku nodded Isaac Loute’s telling cross to his path. The former Heartland man further denied Ajoku from similar position seconds later.

The visitors had their first sight on goal in the 26th minute, when Kelechi John splashed a 35 yards shot straight to the waiting hands of Ebele Obi. Danladi also forced incredible saves from free kicks off Roland Koffi and Emeka Ogbugh in the 28th and 32nd minutes respectively.

Benjamin Turba’s strike just near the edge of the area, strolled past everyone in the Heartland defence and was aiming towards goal, before it took a deflection off for a corner in the 34th minute. Danladi stunned the home fans, getting to the end of a swift move by the home side, which surely would have changed the scoreline before the break.

Heartland brought on Ifeanyi Onuigbo and Bright Ejike to add bite to their attack in the second half. The move paid off as the duo ensured the excesses of Itodo Daniel and Kelechi John on the flanks were properly checked.

The home side kept pushing for a late winner, and almost got their reward in the 74th minute, when Salomon’s poor clearance fell to Ejike, who could only strike low and straight at Danladi. Onuigbo also came close to sneaking it late for Heartland, when his 25 yards volley scraped past the woodwork.

With the draw, Heartland and Plateau United drop to 14th and 15th respectively on the log. Heartland will end the first round of their campaign with an oriental derby away to Rangers on Friday Night.

-Source: npfl.ng.


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