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2023/2024 NPFL Match Day 21: Will Lobi Stars further sink Heartland FC in relegation waters?

Posted : 25 February 2024

Heartland FC of Owerri will face a herculean task against league title-chasing Lobi Stars of Makurdi when both teams clash in the 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) Match Day 21 in Lafia.

Recall that the woes of the Naze Millionaires were further compounded as the 2023/2024 NPFL second stanza resumed with Match Day 20, where they dropped points against visiting Kano Pillars.

On another note, after a temporary setback in last week's match against regional rivals Plateau United in Jos, Lobi Stars will now host Heartland FC Owerri in the Match Day 21 fixture at Lafia City Stadium, Nasarawa State.

Head coach Eugene Agagbe, in his post-match interview after the Match Day 20 setback in Jos, lauded his players for their good display and promised to correct the identified errors while building on the positive gains ahead of the Sunday clash.

Consequently, he has charged his players to be more clinical in front of goal, maintaining that creating chances without converting them would not help them achieve their desired target.

The coach expressed confidence that his strikers would score goals for Lobi Stars to secure the maximum points against helpless Heartland.

Head to Head:

The two teams last met on the opening day of the NPFL first stanza in Owerri, Imo State, where the 'Yes Father Boys' held the 'Naze Millionaires' to a 2-2 draw to snatch an important away point and begin their campaign on a promising note.

Lobi Stars' goal scorers Adebayo Waheed and Francis Odinaka, from the opening game in Owerri, are available and ready to continue from where they stopped in the first-round clash.

Suur Kumaga, Stanley Oganbor, and newcomer Abubakar Aliyu are all ready for selection.

Heartland Coach Christian Obi will turn to goalkeeper Darlington Ovunda, Promise Anyanwu, and Christian Weli to coordinate play against the 'Shoe Gets Size' boys who are placed second on the league table.

There are no injury worries in the camp of Lobi Stars, as Liman Ahmadu has recovered after being sidelined for more than three weeks.

The attacking midfielder is available for selection, just as Alao Dabani, who limped off in the loss at Plateau United after coming off the bench, trained and may have a chance to contribute his quota.

A win for the 'Pride of Benue' will return them to the top of the table and brighten their chances of clinching another NPFL title.

Throughout the Premier League season, Lobi Stars have participated in 19 games, with 11 wins, 6 losses, and 2 draws.

Lobi Stars have not lost in each of their last 10 Premier League home games and have scored in each of their last 10 Premier League home games. A total of 21 goals have been scored by the team, with a significant portion at home.

Defensively, Lobi Stars have conceded 15 goals across the season, with the majority in the second half. At home, the average goals conceded by Lobi Stars is 0.6, while in away matches, the average increases to 1 goal per match.

For league strugglers Naze Millionaires, they have yet to score in 4 of the last 5 Premier League away games against Lobi Stars, while they have not won in each of their last 25 Premier League away games.

Heartland FC has conceded in 10 of the last 11 Premier League away games, and the team has engaged in 20 fixtures with poor results, securing 3 wins, suffering 8 losses, and settling for 9 draws.

Heartland has a win ratio of 16% and a loss ratio of 42%, while the whole team has only managed 18 goals, all in the first half.

On the defensive front, Heartland FC has conceded 22 goals throughout the season, with the bulk in the first half.

Head to Head:

- Heartland - Lobi Stars (30.09.2023) 2:2
- Lobi Stars - Heartland (12.06.2022) 2:1
- Heartland - Lobi Stars (17.02.2022) 1:0
- Lobi Stars - Heartland (30.06.2021) 3:0
- Heartland - Lobi Stars (15.02.2021) 2:0
- Heartland - Lobi Stars (15.03.2020) 2:0
- Lobi Stars - Heartland (20.11.2019) 3:0
- Heartland - Lobi Stars (04.03.2018) 0:1
- Lobi Stars - Heartland (03.07.2016) 2:0
- Heartland - Lobi Stars (06.03.2016) 1:0
-Heartland - Lobi Stars (20.09.2015) 0:0
-Lobi Stars - Heartland (20.05.2015) 1:0.


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