In a game that saw a bout of referee inconsistencies at the Accra Sports Stadium, only a few tipped the Hasmal boys to get away with the maximum points in view of the sparkling form Hearts demonstrated in mid-week’s President’s Cup victory over rival Kumasi Asante Kotoko.
But Hasaacas proved that their 2-0 win over leaders Ashantigold SC last Sunday was no fluke as they stole the lead in only 28 seconds of the opening half – after two-goal hero Emmanuel Ankobeah latched onto a pass outside the box and rammed home past the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Soulama Abdoulaye.
The stadium slumped into petrified silence. Hearts had found themselves in a pickle, and before they could shake themselves off the alarm, Ankobeah again capitalised on an offside let-off to crash home the second goal in the seventh minute.
But the double-scorer hesitated in celebrating the goal. He may have thought there might be something wrong somewhere. Referee Prosper Adii, too, was as confused as the player. He looked up at his Assistant Two Badiun Alhassan, but his flag was also down and was running away to the centre of his line – indicating a legal goal.
That contentious decision threw the home crowd into frenzy as they booed the assistant referee at the slightest opportunity.
There was more drama to come in the 17th minute when Alhassan suddenly dashed onto the field, clutching his head in pain and reporting to the referee about being hit by a missile thrown from the Osu stand. After being examined, all the match officials decided to leave the field into the dressing room – necessitating play to be delayed for 32 minutes.
It had to take a lot of diplomacy from the Hearts officials for the referees to return to the pitch. But even when they did, they were without the distraught Alhassan who had to be relieved by the Fourth Referee Yaw Ametepe.
On resumption, Hearts proved to be the better side as they pumped in a lot of pace, aggression and strength, but the Hasaacas backline was resolute.
The Phobians continued from where they left off in the first half and managed to pull one back in the 66th minute through defender Philip Boampong who cropped up from the right to slide home Inusa Musah’s headed free-kick past Hasaacas goalkeeper George Owu.
The goal gingered the home team as they grasped the nettle and mounted a siege for the equaliser, but the more tactically disciplined Hasmal boys held onto their early advantage with a strong midfield play to post one of the contentious wins of the season.
By John Vigah