An unknown quantity of players parading in the colours of Hearts of Oak were yesterday beaten 3-1 by Medeama SC in their first Group B game of the ongoing GHALCA G6 tournament at the Accra Sports Stadium.
The palpably inexperience players – a collection from the club’s junior side (Auroras) and new-signed ons, lumbered across the turf and could have been swallowed up by a landslide of goals in the opening half.
It is not too clear why Hearts decided to rest their regulars in a tournament that is expected to prepare them ahead of the season as well as the CAF Confederation Cup campaign.
Captivatingly, the young Phobians began the afternoon poking the ball around with the aplomb of veterans but their greenness – particularly on the part of forward Kudus Mohammed, shone in the final third as the Medeama rearguard had no severe headache dealing with them.
Medeama, inspired by skipper Kwesi Donsu, led 2-0 in the first half through Darlington Gyan Fosu in the 21st minute while Joshua Agyemang fetched a brace in the 24th and 56th minutes.
Sensing a catastrophic result, Hearts raised their performance after the recess and showed a lot of promise as they fought tooth-and-nail to pull one back in the 63rd minute through talented William Opoku.
The result meant that Rainbow boys must record a huge win against Berekum Chelsea to stand any chance of advancing to the next stage of the contest.
At the same venue on Saturday, Great Olympics suffered their second Group A penalty-shootout loss to Karela United after the referee’s final signal.
The two teams had played to a scorching barren stalemate and when everybody thought Olympics were going to make amends for their opening-day defeat in similar fashion to Bechem United, they again slumped at the dead-ball kicks, losing 6-5 to the Aiyinase-based side.
Per the GHALCA G6 rules, winners via shootout earn two points, whilst the loser settles for a solitary point.
The match itself generated pieces of thrills with the combatants coming close on a number of occasions.
Olympics’ Liberian international Varney Sandro should have given the Dade boys a creditable lead, but blew off the 25th-minute God-sent opportunity. Karela’s forward Richard Berko was also denied by the vigilance of Oly’s goalie late in the second stanza which saw former Ghana international Agyemang Badu come on for his injured Oly teammate Rodney Appiah – son of ex-Ghana captain Stephen Appiah.
Goalkeeper Felix Kyei became the day’s hero after diving to his right to save Prince Afrifa’s lame low kick, handing his side victory in the 11-day thrilling tournament.
BY JOHN VIGAH