Enyimba vs Heartland Prediction, playing 11, team news and more | NPFL 2019/2020
It would be derby day in the Nigerian Professional Football League, with Igbo giants Enyimba hosting Heartland in the Oriental derby.
Both teams share geographical boundaries and matches between the pair are always charged with an electric atmosphere, with more than just three points attached, as a victory in the game gives bragging rights to fans.
Heartland are very much fallen giants, having dominated in the early days of the Nigerian top-flight, while Enyimba have been on an upward trajectory since the turn of the millennium and are currently the most decorated club in the history of the NPFL.
For all their history and prestige, neither Heartland nor Enyimba have particularly excelled this season and currently find themselves languishing in the bottom half of the table, with Enyimba in 16th spot with 15 points from 10 matches (albeit with four games in hand), while Heartland have fared slightly better and are currently in 11th place with 18 points from 14 matches
Enyimba v Heartland Head-to-Head
In the last 20 meetings between the pair, Enyimba have prevailed on seven occasions, with Heartland winning six, while seven of the games ended in a stalemate, including each of the last two clashes.
Furthermore, the People's Elephant of Aba scored 15 goals in this period, while Heartland scored 12.
Total matches played: 20, Enyimba wins: 7, Draws: 7, Heartland wins: 6
Enyimba form guide: L D D L W
Heartland form guide: W L W L L
Enyimba v Heartland Team News and Predicted XI
Enyimba have been disastrous of late and the 4-0 defeat to Plateau United led to the termination of Usman Abd’allah's contract and his replacement with his assistant Fatai Osho on an interim basis.
He would likely start with Nwabali in goal who would be shielded by Adebayo and Opara while James and Darkwah man the full-back positions.
The three-man midfield would comprise of Farouk, Ojo, and Guera, while Victor Mbaoma would lead the attack, flanked by Abdulahman and Bala.
Enyimba Predicted XI: Nwabali; James, Adebayo, Opara, Darkwah; Farouk, Ojo, Guera; AbdulRahman, Mbaoma, Bala
Heartland are also in dire straits and Technical adviser Fidelis Ilochukwu would have to start getting positive results if he is to remain in the job he has had for just six months.
Godwin Ameh and Nigerian international Ikechukwu Ezenwa have alternated in goal for Heartland but Ezenwa is likely to start in goal and he would be protected by Desmond Agbekpornu and Danvide Ogunloye, while Joshua Akabhue and Julius Emiloju would man the full-back spots to complete the back four.
Joseph Onoja would act as the anchorman in the middle and he would be complemented by Razaq Aliyu and Tchato Giscard in midfield.
Upfront, the veteran Christian Pyagbara would lead the line, while Chimamkpa Deruo and Aputaziem Ugochuwku would complete the forward line.
Heartland Predicted XI: Ikechuwkwu Ezenwa; Joshua Akabhue, Desmond Agbekpornu, Danvide Ogunloye, Julius Emiloju; Joseph Onoja, Razaq Aliyu, Tchato Giscard; Chimamkpa Deruo, Christian Pyagbara, Aputaziem Ugochukwu
Enyimba v Heartland Prediction
A dire run of five straight matches without a win in all competitions culminating in a 4-0 defeat to Plateau United led to the sack of Usman Abd'allah and his temporal replacement was thrust straight into the thick of things with a continental clash against FC Paradou of Algeria.
The club's poor run of form was halted with a convincing 4-1 win in Aba and that win put them in prime position to secure qualification from their CAF Confederations group.
Coach Fatai Osho would be eager to maintain the momentum when the People's Elephant return to domestic action by picking up all three points against the Naze Millionaires to breathe life to what has been a limp title defence.
They would, however, need to perform at an optimum if they are to get anything from a Heartland side who are more than capable of beating anyone in the league on their day.
Coach Fidelis Ilochukwu has not overseen the best of results but got a much needed win against Abia Warriors at the Okigwe Stadium on matchday 14 and he would be very eager to make it two wins on the bounce for the first time this season.
The win over Abia Warriors meant that Heartland registered consecutive Oriental victories (having defeated Rangers 2-1 on matchday 12) and they would fancy their chances of adding Enyimba to their derby victims.
The Aba Township Stadium has been something of a fortress over the years and for all of their struggles this term, Enyimba are yet to taste defeat at home, winning four and drawing one of their five home matches to date.
By contrast, Heartland have been poor on their travels and have picked up just one victory from seven away matches so far, losing five.
This difference in form means that Enyimba are likely to pick up all three points with a slight victory in what would undoubtedly be a keenly contested fixture.
Verdict: Enyimba 2-1 HeartlandModified 13 Jan 2020, 07:59 IST