A brace from Ismaila Gata ensured all three points for Niger Tornadoes in a Match Day 16 clash versus Heartland FC at the Confluence Stadium in Lokoja in the exciting Nigeria Professional Football League. Ifeanyi Onuigbo had levelled things up to give the Naze Millionaires a thread-like hope in the course of the game.
The match began with an early booking which saw Ifeanyi Onuigbo of Heartland booked after a rough tackle on Omolayo Ibrahim.
Four minutes later Tornadoes’ leading scorer Ismaila Gata put the hosts in the driving seat with an audacious strike, the goal came just in the 12th minute, the fans responded, the bench celebrated. It was what they anticipated.
Minutes later Onuigbo came close to levelling up scores in a one-on-one situation which Tornadoes’ goalie Mustapha Aliko kept out.
Tornadoes midfield trio of Omolayo Ibrahim, Tasiu Lawal and Adeyemo Bolaji turned on the style in the middle of the park much to the delight of the fans at the Confluence Stadium.
A solo run by Onuigbo saw the rampaging attacker restore parity for Heartland which brought the scoreline to 1-1.
Bala Saidu of Niger Tornadoes’ long range effort was saved by Acho Philip in goal for Heartland that really was the last piece of action as first half ended 1-1.
On resumption of second half the two teams gave fans something to cheer with countless moments of brilliance.
Tornadoes regained the lead again through man of the match Ismaila Gata via a sublime freekick on the edge of the box. His goal earned him a standing ovation from the cheering fans at the Confluence Stadium.
Gata had another chance and should have had a hat-trick but his goal was disallowed with the flag already up.
Both teams brought in reinforcements in the second half but the fresh legs however failed to ignite and raise the tempo of the game. Fortune Omoniwari came on for the Naze Millionaires in the dying stages of the encounter, a bit of his trouble almost threw Tornadoes’ defence line into disarray. Tornadoes however held on to claim all points.