The Rainbow boys have been ‘shoved off’ the title since winning it in 2009 and per the ‘ye bie gya’ aggressive style they displayed in the second half of the afternoon yesterday, it appears they are in for a good bargain this term.
In spite of the loss – the second to Hearts in the season, Chelsea were never dwarfed as to render them comparatively inconspicuous. Indeed, until Hearts snatched the initiative as late as the 79th minute, their opponents proved a tough nut to shell.
The visitors had held the bragging rights going into yesterday’s tie after winning six and drawing four of the 15 league games between them. But all that was settled with substitute Kwame Kizito’s jumbling goal on an afternoon Referee Nuhu Liman’s litany of contentious decisions scraped some beauty off.
Chelsea had the finest opportunity to break the deadlock as early as the fourth minute when skipper Saddick Adam’s powerful free-kick was punched into the path of Richard Oti whose double effort was saved by an inspiring Soulama Abdoulaye.
In a half slightly dominated by the visitors, Hearts only had the first real shot on goal three minutes from the break with Patrick Razak shooting into the hands of goalkeeper John Moosie. The second stanza resumed with yet another plucky save from Soulama to Adam’s close-range shot that drifted to corner.
The writings were on the wall and Hearts knew they had to pump some more blood into the arteries of their game if they really wanted the maximum points. And, that was exactly what they did, subjecting the Chelsea backline to incessant pressure and squandering a number of decent scoring chances in the process.
In the heat of the pressure, Razak was upended in the box after 72nd minute when he the stocky striker had broken free, but Referee Liman turned elsewhere. However, the home team managed to break the drought seven minutes later through the substitute Kizito who lobbed the ball past a committed goalie.
The shouts that greeted the goal was as deafening as the screams of the protesting Chelsea players. But it stood and Hearts would for the second week running maintain their delight at the apex.
For followers of Hearts, yesterday’s victory was a superb dress rehearsal for their super league clash against Kumasi Asante Kotoko who licked them 1-0 in Accra.
By John Vigah