Accra Hearts of Oak stomped into the Accra Sports Stadium yesterday looking to exorcise the demons in their mulish Tema opponents – Inter Allies. They got it with a sweet 2-0 victory.
After slumping 2-3 to WAFA on the road on Sunday, Hearts were resolute to complete the first
round of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) Special Competition with home victory to serve as
solace for their ever demanding disciples.
But the Phobians were to be given a good run for their money by a bogey side that were fully-loaded for bear and nearly shot ahead after 26 minutes through a lethargic Nsungusi Effiong when Hearts goalkeeper Richard Ayi was penalised for handling the ball outside his area.
Four minutes later, Hearts’ striker Obeng Junior had perhaps the easiest chance of the combative half, but failed to slot past goalkeeper Salifu Saed after a rebound in the Allies’ rear fell tantalizingly to him. He was replaced soon after.
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, the Allies started the afternoon confidently – knowing that they
carried the bragging rights heading into yesterday’s tie – since 2015.
In seven games, the Allies had won two and drawn four – losing one.
Interestingly, Allies zoomed into the afternoon with the stunning resignation of their head coach,
Rashid Iddi, who the club explained in a statement, “has gone back to serve the people of Cape
Coast as the Deputy Regional Chief Imam.”
Heartily, the Tema boys did not appear rattled by the development and gave Hearts a lot of anxious moments. Indeed, the visitors appeared more famished to register their first away win, having lost to Liberty Professionals at Dansoman (2-1) and Karela United 3-1 at Anyianse.
Steadily, Hearts settled to some gleaming passing game in midfield and created bouts of
opportunities which were blown into smithereens. Their fans held their heads in exasperation at
the team’s profligacy.
Coach Kim Grant looked more livid, having seen similar chances squandered at Sogakope on
Sunday. Occasionally, he would punch the empty air in frustration.
Hearts, however, resumed the second stanza on a shimmering fashion and caught Allies on the back foot. In the heat of the early pressure, the visitors suffered a whammy of misfortune when their goalie was shown the red by Referee Obed Danquah for an infringement outside the area.
It was a fatal blow, but Allies were not overawed by their numerical disadvantage and kept fighting as if their lives were tied to the outcome of the game.
However, Allies’ unyielding resistance caved in on 55 minutes when Robert Addo Sowah powerfully headed home defender Chris Bonney’s dream corner past substitute goalkeeper Clement Aryee.
Hearts star player Joseph Esso made it 2-0 in a quick-silver break after ghosting around goalkeeper Aryee who had ventured out of his zone apparently to goad his team for the equaliser.
BY JOHN VIGAH