Heartland FC came from behind to overcome stubborn AS Racine of Lagos 2-1 in a Nigeria National League Southern Conference matchday-21 clash at Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri on Sunday, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Benedict Okotie conceded a first half own goal to hand the Victor Agali led AS Racine a shock first half lead, but Francis Momoh restored parity for the home side after converting a penalty kick on 53 minutes when a defender of the visitors was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area following a corner kick.
Nnamdi Asiegbu won the game for the home side on 68 minutes when he headed home Nwokeji Emmanuel's free kick.
Missing the services of their leading scorer, Odinaka Ahueke in the explosive tie, Heartland were reduced to 10 men on 72 minutes when substitute Odera Onyiri was sent off for elbowing AS Racine's goalkeeper during a corner-kick melee.
The win saw the four-time Nigerian Premier League champions move six points clear at the top of the NNL Southern Conference table, and would travel to Akwa Starlets next weekend in a matchday-22 fixture.
Heartland FC Chairman, Hon. Chibuzor 'Bash' Etuemena said he was delighted with his team's performance on the night, but emphasised they were poised for the fight for promotion.
"It was a difficult match. Our players fought hard and I must say it was a victory well deserved," Etuemena said.
"We are determined to fight for the promotion.
It won't be easy, but we are working hard to achieve our dream."
Spokesman of the club, Solomon Onu, said the victory was a befitting birth day gift to the chairman, Hon. Chibuzor 'Bash' Etuemena.
"Our President will be a year older tomorrow, 10th July, 2017. Today's victory, as important as it is for our promotion dream, has been dedicated to him,"Onu said.
Heartland top the table with 42 points , while Go Round FC are on second position with 36 points.