Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) 2020/2021 season stats show that Heartland FC’s come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Akwa United on Sunday was the first time a team would come from a half time deficit to win a game. At the centre of the crucial turnaround for the Naze Millionaires was young midfielder Samuel Nnoshiri who is fast growing into an indispensable figure in the squad.
Nnoshiri it was who scored the equalising goal from the penalty spot before centre back Nduka Eze completed the comeback with an 80th minute winner. Nnoshiri, 19, made his full Heartland debut on January 16, 2019 and has grown in leaps and bounds since scoring his first goal for the team four days later, in an away win over Nasarawa United. When the time came for Heartland’s players to show their character, it was this lad, the youngest player on the pitch for Heartland that took up the gauntlet, knowing what consequences could come should he fail in the task. www.npfl.ng asked Nnoshiri if taking the equalising penalty was a mark of the trust he has earned from his senior colleagues?
“It’s not just that my teammates trust me but you know we were chasing an equaliser and many of them were scared, maybe not to miss but I took the responsibility within me and I knew I was going to score,” replied the left-footed attacking midfielder. “I also knew if I didn’t score, the blame would be on me so I had to be very careful but I knew I would score.
“I’m not scared of taking such responsibilities because it is part of the game. I don’t have to be scared of such situations because I can always meet it in other places,” added the homegrown player.
Nasarawa United also joined Heartland in being the only sides to have come from a half time deficit to win a game with their own win at Warri Wolves also on Sunday. Despite that no team had done it this season at that point, Nnoshiri says he was fully confident that his side would turn the game around despite a lacklustre first half display in Owerri. “I had the belief that we would come back to win the game in the second half because the way the coach had spoken to us in the dressing room.
I knew we were going to make it in the second half. “The coach emphasised on our pressing and told us not to bother about the one goal we were trailing with. He also tried to motivate us that this is a game we will win and we believed,” Nnoshiri added.