Accra Hearts of Oak begun life without former coach, Kenichi Yatsuhatsi yesterday with a hard fought 1-0 victory over Dreams FC in their week 16 fixture of the Ghana Premier League (GPL) played at the Accra Sports Stadium.
Despite the lacklustre display of the visitors, Hearts had to labour for one hour before Cosmos Dauda banged home the winner that took them to second position on the league log.
With their preparation disrupted by the announcement of the Kenichi’s sacking, a number of the fans attended yesterday’s game with mixed expectation but they had to cause to panick as Hearts remained in total control of the game at the initial stages.
Having greater possession, Hearts kept play in the opposing half as Dreams FC Pplayers kept chasing them and failed to threaten the homesters.
The first noticeable incursion by Dreams FC was in the 6th minute but then a resultant corner kick was blown to touch with Hearts new signing, Patrick Razak running the show for the Phobians in the Dreams goal area.
Razak was not only a nightmare for his Dreams FC markers but forced two quick saves from former Hearts goalie, Philemon McCarthy in the 10th and 12th minutes.
Before that, he wasted a glorious opportunity when he outrun his markers and shot wide when he had just McCarthy at his mercy.
Both sides were forced to effect early substitutions as injuries plagued the game as Hearts replaced Sabahn Laryea and another newly signed Kassenu Ghandy with Leonard Tawiah and Fatau Dauda with Dreams bringing on veteran Eric Gawu for Lawson Bekui.
As the game wore on, it was characterised by faulty passes and near misses from both sides but Hearts was clearly the better side, threatening the Dreams goal area.
Unfortunately, they failed to create decent chances.
McCarthy delved deep into his huge reservoir of experience to stop Hearts Razak from finding the back of the net in the 32nd minutes. That miss was followed by a decent opportunity which was wasted by Cosmos Dauda who instead of shooting opted to turn his markers inside-out and was robbed of the chance.
Substitute Gawu came close to fetching the opener in the 44th minute when a directed header flew above the crossbar, missing by inches.
Hearts started the second half with gusto and continued to probe for the opener, making unimaginable penalty shouts which were ignored by referee Joseph Lamptey.
That forced Dreams to make two quick changes, bringing on Samuel Abeiku Ainooson and Emmanuel Hayford on for Prosper Donkor and Emmanuel Armah but not long after, their resistance was broken by Dauda.
A freekick poorly taken by Samudeen Ibrahim was feebly handled by McCarthy in post while his defense also failed to clear the lurking danger, only for Dauda to pounce on the loose ball from the ensuing melee to give Hearts a deserved lead.
Dreams FC lifted their game afterwards by attempts to get back into the game was killed by the expulsion of central defender Richard Ocran for two yellow card offences in a spate of three minutes.
The first followed an unnecessary exchange of words with the referee and a violent and needless tackle of a Hearts player.
But despite the numerical disadvantage, they surged forward on a few occasion but always found the Hearts defense unbreakable.
By Andrew Nortey