Accra Hearts of Oak returned to winning ways for the first time in the 2022/2023 betPawa Ghana Premier League, beating visiting Bibiani Gold Stars 2-1 in their match day-four game played at the Accra Sports Stadium on Saturday.
Two second half strikes from substitute Isaac Mensah and skipper of the day GladsonAwako were enough to help the Phobians claw back from a ninth-minute first half goal from Prince KwabenaOwusu, to earn victory which, coincidentally, was the first since last beating the same side 1-0 on match-day 29 last season.
Playing under the tutelage of newly-appointed head coach Slavko Matic, Hearts were in control of the game until an unsuspecting Owusu cleverly shrugged off Hearts’ defender Samuel Inkoom from the ball behind the penalty box. He raised his head and spotted goalkeeper Richmond Ayi off his line and curled home a powerful right-footed shot from about 35 yards into the empty net for the opener.
Hearts re-grouped and chased for the equaliser but were left frustrated by the game-management approach of the opposition which was to delay play and slow the game while catching the hosts on the break.
Even in the face of this strategy by the visitors, the Phobians found a way to break the opposition and found their way on goal, but failed to grab the equaliser.
Kwadwo Obeng Junior nearly got the equaliser in the 38th minute, but his effort was denied by the woodwork. Skipper Awako and striker YassanOuatching came close to drawing level in the 52nd and 55th minutes respectively, but squandered the opportunities that came their way.
A minute later, striker Ibrahim Laar nearly made it 2-0 from the same style as the first goal but after feeding on a faulty pass from Hearts defender KonaduYiadom, he curled a shot at goal which Ayi crept back to save.
Hearts were presented with a chance to equalise on 57 minutes when goalkeeper Joseph Baah handled a back pass from Michael Enu. Before that kick could be taken, goalkeeper Baah was given his marching off orders by Emmanuel AzuragoTampuri for punching the chest of Ouatching, while Awako wasted the resultant kick.
The Phobian fans found their cheering voices from the stands in the 77th minute when Mensah poked home a pass from Awako.
Fired by the equaliser, Hearts increased the intensity of their play and pushed for the match winner and three minutes from the end,Awako curled home a trademark free-kick from just behind the box to complete the comeback.
BY RAYMOND ACKUMEY