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Football | Nigeria

Heartland stun wasteful Pillars

Nigeria Premier League (NPL) champions, Kano Pillars started their Super Four quest on an unimpressive note as they lost 0-1 to Federation Cup holders, Heartland.

Striker Happy Okuoka was the hero for the Naze Millionaires as his superb goal at the death separated the two sides.

Kano Pillars almost put the tie beyond their top flight opponents as striker Shehu Shagari headed against the crossbar in the fourth minute.

Heartland dangerman, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu then made space for a shot after a mazy run across Pillars' box, but his superb effort was blocked by impressive Kano Pillars' goalkeeper, Sani Haliru.

Pillars should have taken the lead three minutes after the restart, but Bello Musa's shot was saved by Heartland goalkeeper, Chinedu Udeh who also kept out Nasiru Ali's close-range effort.

Kano Pillars continued to attack Heartland, and they were denied what would have been the opener as an excellent save from Udeh kept away a sweetly struck effort by Ikechukwu Gabriel.

The game ended 1-0 in favour of the Naze Millionaires at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kofarmata, Kano.

Earlier on Wednesday, a 25th minute goal by Daniel Okorie was enough for Lobi Stars to defeat Enugu Rangers, who were last season's NPL runners-up.

Super Four Fixtures

Friday, January 11

Enugu Rangers v Heartland (1pm)

Kano Pillars v Lobi Stars (3pm)


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