By Ahmad Elnafaty

Nelson Abiam scored the only goal of the game as Doma United beat Heartland 1-0 at the Pantami Stadium on Wednesday to lift them back to the top of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) standings.

Remo Stars climbed to the top of the NPFL table on Sunday, but have now been dislodged by Doma United who claimed a slim home victory over Heartland. The Savannah Tigers will however have to wait till the end of Thursday to know if they will remain top after the top-of-the-table clash involving Remo Stars and Lobi Stars.

The Savannah Tigers went for Heartland from the outset with Sani Sulaiman hitting the side-netting and Charles Terwer running through and forcing a low stop from Chisom Chiaha, before Hilary Ekawu curled shot needed an even better save from Chiaha.

The crowd egged on the home side with chants of ‘Sai Doma! Sai Doma!’ There was a reminder of the size of the threat at the other end when Chidiebere Ajoku had a chance in quick succession, which was saved by the superb Kingdom Osayi. It was the only shot Heartland had on target throughout the contest.

The Savannah Tigers defender Abiam showed impressive composure, out-jumped his marker inside the box before heading the ball past Heartland goalkeeper three minutes before the break. It changed the mood and put the onus squarely on Heartland to force the game.

The goal counted as his fourth goal of the season. Abiam had also scored against 3SC, Akwa United and Niger Tornadoes. He has been providing the goods when the team needed him most. It was left-back Andrew Majalisa who provided the assist for Abiam’s goal.

Injury to Terwer did not help. The star winger was forced off in the second half. Akinade Onigbinde’s team continued pushing after the interval, searching for the second goal, earning a series of free-kicks and corners to have nerves jangling for the supporters inside the Pantami, but created little of note.

There were questions asked about whether Doma United could keep up this surprise title charge. They silenced some doubters with the win against Kano Pillars, and a victory against arch-rivals (Gombe United) away from home is yet another test they have completed.

Akinade’s men only have to face Sunshine Stars left in the NPFL before the New Year, and the hope for them is that they remain top during and after festive period.

David NPFL
December 20, 2023
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