In a rare display of courage, Heartland FC withstood unrelenting pressure from the home team, Shooting Stars, to secure a morale-boosting goalless draw at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan, in a Nigeria Premier Football League Matchday 11 tie played on Sunday evening.
The Naze Millionaires' defense, led by goalkeeper Chisom Chiaha and team captain Nnaemeka Anyanwu, along with his troops, resisted all that the Oluyole Warriors threw at them in the game.
Head coach Kennedy Boboye, overseeing his second game since his recent appointment, kept faith with Chiaha in goal, Christian Molokwu, Divine Ukadike, Anyanwu, and Peters Afolayan in defense, while Elvis Ori, Clement Ogbobe, Ifeanyi Anyanwu, Tunde Oyewole, Austin Osayande, and Onyekachi Okafor were the others in the starting lineup.
Shooting Stars started pressuring the visitors' defense from the blast of the referee's whistle in search of an early goal, but they could not pass through the defense line of the Naze Millionaires, and on a few occasions they succeeded, Gafar Olafimihan led 3SC attack was wasteful.
The Oluyole Warriors tried as much as they could to get a goal in the first half, but Heartland FC's defense stood tall as the game was goalless at halftime.
Boboye brought in the trio of Ezekiel Bassey, Kingsley Arum, and Chidiebere Ajoku in the early part of the second half, and their introduction brought about changes in Heartland FC's playing pattern. They made occasional forays into their hosts' vital area and repressed them from going to their goal area.
One of the high points of the game was the introduction of George Jenon, who made his debut for the Naze Millionaires in the embers of the game as Heartland held on to secure their third away point of the season.
It was also Boboye's first point since he assumed the position, following the home loss to Enyimba last weekend. The draw in Ibadan kept Boboye's record of never losing a game against Shooting Stars intact.
Heartland head coach, Kennedy Boboye, praised the players for a job well done and tasked them to remain focused ahead of subsequent games. He expressed satisfaction with the draw, and while they had hoped for a win, he emphasized the importance of the draw over losing the game.
Looking forward, he mentioned going back home to work on improving their performance and preparing well for the game against Bendel Insurance on Wednesday in Owerri.
The Naze Millionaires are currently in the 20th position on the league table, having secured seven points in 11 games with no wins, seven draws, and four losses.