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2023/2024 NWFL Oriental Derby: Heartland Queens outclass Abia Angels in five goals thriller

Posted : 29 March 2024

Heartland Queens made light work of the much-hyped Oriental derby against next-door neighbors, Abia Angels, with a masterclass 4-1 victory.

The derby was a NWFL Premiership matchday 11 reverse fixture clash at the main bowl of Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri on Wednesday.

The game was rightly tagged for good reason as 'vexed' or 'revenge', but it was not to be after all, as the Owerri mainstreams did not allow the visitors a moment to settle down in the game before the goal rush commenced.

The 4-1 victory ensured that the Owerri landladies achieved the avowed double over their sister's side, whom they had previously beaten 2-1 in the first-term fixture clash in Aba.

Just five minutes into the game, bullish attacker Chinedu Chinaka was already hitting the opponents' back net with a stunning grounder that belittled the Aba side's shot-stopper, Uju Ngwu. Mary Lucky provided the assist.

The rousing greetings that heralded the stunner hardly died down before in-form and on-the-field captain Chimebere Opara doubled the lead in the 9th minute with an assist from Chinaka.

It was the tormentor-in-chief herself, Mary Lucky, who practically covered the pitch to ink her name on the scorer chart by scoring the third goal off a free kick from about 28 meters that left the Aba side goalie, Ngwu, bemused.

The Owerri side went into the break with a three-goal advantage. The Aba outfits were outclassed and outmatched in the half, but they were not cowed as they fought to make the game a derby.

Upon restart, the rampaging finisher, who had missed a simple tap-in just a few minutes ago, and who appeared to have had her best game ever, redeemed herself with a resultant free kick following a foul on Mary Lucky, sealing a brace for herself in the 57th minute. Lucky was sore to have missed a one-on-one with the Abia Angels' goalie, Ngwu.

Substitute Tessy Biahwo scored a consolation for her side in the 70th minute, at least making the game look like a contest.

Abia Angels made four changes to further put pressure on the attack, but it turned out to be their coaches who faced the consequences. Head coach Ben Nwoke saw yellow for being unruly to the match officials, while his assistant received a red card for dissent.

Heartland Queens substituted Onyinyechi Kalu for Yetunde Anyantosho, aiming to push for more goals. A few minutes later, they made instant four changes. The quartet—Amaechi Duru, Mary Okorie, Blessing Ekpo, and Nnenna Williams—were thrown into the fray, while Chinyere Iheoma, Oluchi Okwara, Mary Lucky, and Kelechi Orgii were taken off, but the changes yielded no further goals as the Owerri side went home to savor the sweet victory.

The derby win ensured that Heartland Queens stayed atop the eight-team Group A log with 21 points, one above their closest challengers, Nasarawa Amazons.


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