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BY: OLATOYE OLAWALE

Seven days to Christmas, the Naze Millionaires were thirsty for victory yet again after getting  two consecutive victories on the trot against Plateau United and Kwara United who were disunited by the Scientific Soccer Boys.

Three points should have sent the entire Heartland FC into ecstacy as the Naze Millionaires were 5 minutes away from achieving all three points in the nail biting encounter against Kano Pillars at the Okigwe township stadium.

As usual Coach Ilechukwu set up his side without any desire to be petty against the opponent as he went Gungs-ho at the Sai Maisu Gida.

Christian Pyagbara ,Ugochukwu Aputaziem and Joseph Onoja  made life difficult for the defense line of the visitors. It was a pretty entertaining game in the first period as both sides were willing to get a go at each other.

The best chances in the first period went to  Heartland in the dying moments of the first half as Aputaziem failed to break the deadlock as the hosts were unable to convert a couple of opportunities.

Three minutes after the restart Aputaziem made up for the miss of the first half,  the dimunitive striker Started the move from the right channel before setting up Godwin Emmanuel with beautiful back heeled pass that caught the pillar's defense flat footed before Nnoshiri set up Aputaziem to finish what he started to open the scoring in what turned out to be a nerve racking second half.

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The pendulum of initiative swung immediately in favor of Pillars who tried to restore parity to the scoreline but the introduction of Amah Chibundu and Chijioke Akunaeto pegged the visitors back.

Unrelentless in their pursuit for an equaliser Pillars substituted her subdued Captain Rabiu Ali and that proved a turning point . The Substitute became a catalyst pressing the panic button of Heartland and getting a controversial free kick in the dying moments.

The result was a nightmare for Heartland, the defense lost concentration and were punished by the predatory instincts of Nyima Nyagua who was unmarked In the vital area.

The goal changed the complexion of the game and stopped Ejiogu's run of consecutive clean sheets. Heartland wounded and bruised fought back to regain her lead but it was too little too late as the Mai Su Gida spoiled Heartland's Christmas parte

Surely a painful end for the gallant fighters of Imo State in losing 2 points, in what would have been a hat trick of three points in as many matches, the Lads will take solace in the fact that they are building a vibe, a momentum generated from a run of positive results and confidence in the tactical philosophy of Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu whose imprint on the team is gradually coming together.

The future is bright. We live to die another day.

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