Hearts, Kotoko in tricky ties …As Aduana Stars’ lead come under threat

Accra Hearts of Oak appear to have enjoyed a peaceful ambi­ance over the last week after a vital 1-0 victory over their bitter rivals, Asante Kotoko in a betPawa Premier League game that also had at stake a trophy to commemorate Ghana’s Independence celebration.

The week ahead of that had been tumultuous following a defeat in the hands of their city rivals, Accra Great Olympics in another Premier League derby.

Upshots of that was a massive fans protest that resulted in a momentary suspension of Serbian Head Coach, Slavco Matic – at least for the period of preparation for the game against Kotoko.

Stand-in coach, Ocloo grabbed the opportunity and guided the Phobians to a victory over the Porcupine Warriors.

With Matic back in the saddle, Hearts will face a new test against struggling GoldStars in Bibiani in an attractive week 23 match today.

GoldStars, guided by a former Kotoko prodigy, Michael Osei, would obviously be unhappy about the previous week’s defeat of his former club and would stage a battle to pay the Phobians back in their own coin.

But he would have to achieve that target with a different set of players that lacks the strength and pedigree of the Porcupine War­riors.

That would surely leave him with a very difficult task to achieve as GoldStars, who themselves lie in a relatively difficult position on the league table.

On their visits to the capital, they have shown some stubbornness and a bit of a difficult character and would be quite comfortable at home and be in a position to face Hearts boot-for-boot.

But what fans would look out for is whether the performance seen from the Phobians was real or a mere fluke, knowing they had to bounce back at all cost as they challenge for the trophy.

Despite GoldStars strength at home, Hearts are clear favourites to run away with the three points.

The match at the Bibiani Duns Park will be officiated by experi­enced referee Serlorm Yao Bless and be supported on the lines by Isaac Asante and Theophilus Aku­gre and Olivert Amoako as Match Commissioner.

Tomorrow at the Accra Sports Stadium, Accra Great Olympics would be engaged in a tough battle when they welcome Samartex FC in what could define the fate of the Wonder Club.

Olympics started the season on an impressive note but have faded with time, fraught with poor results in their outings, especially their matches away.

Currently, the Wonder Club is separated by just three points from the 16th placed club; meaning defeat must be avoided at all cost in their impending game.

After maintaining the bragging rights with a victory over Hearts, Oly was thought to be in a good stead to stretch that good run with a victory over King Faisal but lost to the league strugglers.

 That has not gone down well with the fans and their new tech­nical team led by Kobby Mensah.

Few days after taking over from Yaw Preko, he made a sharp observation and pointed to the players’ poor stamina as an area to work on.

For his third game, Coach Kobby Mensah must be in a good position to build a physically fit team to capitalize on their home advantage to defeat Samartex to climb the table to stay off the relegation dog-fight.

Rustum Gameli Senorgbe will be at the centre of this game and be supported on the lines by Kofi Nyarko Bakai and Kenneth Twen­eboah Kodua.

Kotoku Royals will oblige Be­chem United in a match expected to be full of fireworks with referee Eso Doh Morrision at the centre and Paul Atimaka and Stephen Balanguena on the lines.

Both sides are coming on the back of mixed results from the previous week’s games and are motivated to build a winning trend or return to winning ways.

Bechem were home to Gold­Stars last week and emerged 2-0 victors but the Royals suffered a 2-1 defeat to Nsoatreman, leaving them with very little choice not to leave any stone unturned to bounce back.

Tomorrow at the CAMS Park Aiyinase, Karela United will lock horns with Nsoatreman in a game of equals to be officiated by referee Dr Imoro Osman and assistants Emmanuel Dolagbanu and Henry Essel.

Karela currently lie at the 16th position with 23 points and would need the points to stay clear of the drop zone. They would then have to play above themselves to stand any chance against the 11th placed Nsoatreman side that is pushing hard for a top half finish on their debut.

At the Nana Agyeman Badu Park in Dormaa, Aduana Stars’ reign at the top will face another test when they engage Medeama SC.

Aduana Stars have shown championship credentials this sea­son, rubbing shoulders with the big guns, Hearts and Kotoko and have been a nightmare for them.

They presently lead the pack with 36 points, followed closely by Accra Lions with 34 points.

Surely, the ‘slim’ points differ­ence should provide the motiva­tion for the league leaders to go all out to fetch all three points against a Medeama side that has been quite inconsistent this season and fired two coaches already.

Unlike previous seasons where they fail to get results on ‘enemy’ grounds, Aduana Stars have been to some of the difficult away grounds, including the Accra Sports Stadium to pick vital points.

That clearly suggest the team’s resolve to end the season among the best and snatch a slot for Africa but they must guard against complacency lest Medeama give them a shock of their lives.

At the Golden City Park in Berekum, ninth placed Berekum Chelsea will face Legon Cities in a game the visitors will attempt to cause an upset.

Referee George M. Vormawor will be in charge of that game and be supported by Tijani Moham­med and Robert Aduko Sunday on the lines.

Real Tamale United and Tamale City will set the Aliu Mahama Sta­dium alight when they engage in a local derby that will have referee Clement K. Nkuah in attendance.

On the lines to support him would be George O. Amponsem and Kenneth Armoo.

In other games, Accra Lions will play Dreams FC at the Accra Sports Stadium on Monday with Kotoko and King Faisal also going at each other in an Ashanti region­al derby on Wednesday.


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