Kodzi breaks Bechem hearts

An inspired second half performance of steel, determination and valour – flavoured by Kofi Kodzi’s sweet last-gasp goal, powered Accra Hearts of Oak to overcome Bechem United in their Week-10 fixture of the Ghana Premier League (GPL) at the Accra Sports Stadium yesterday.

Hearts’ well-deserved 3-2 victory may have been expected by the club’s stolid followers after consecutive drawn games against two tough contingents – AshantiGold and Aduana Stars.

The Phobians’ ferocious response yesterday to their previous results, limpidly suggested they were famished for their first win in 270 minutes. They stabbed it home – but not without a fight!

Indeed, after the first quarter, it was clear the game would turn into a long row to how – Bechem defending with their ‘blood’ and spasmodically pounding the Hearts’ territory for a stunning opener.

Hearts should have shot into the lead but gangling striker Kofi Kodzi fluffed off the 11th minute opportunity after crashing it lamely into the hands of goalkeeper Daniel Afadzwu who was retreating after venturing outside his area.
In the absence of a creative midfield loom, the home team initiated most the attacks from their right-back and captain Mohammed Fatau. The effect was powder-puffed as Hearts struggled in front of goal.

The stadium was stunned to petrified silence just before the half-hour mark when Bechem was awarded a penalty after the referee adjudged Mohammed Alhassan to have ‘soiled’ Hafiz Konkoni in the box.

It drew a bout of protests from Hearts who thought Konkoni may have gone down all-too easily. The referee stuck to his guns.  Prince Kwabena Adu converted to put his side 1-0 into the lead.

However, Bechem’s goal lasted for only 180 seconds as Kodzi’s controlled ball hit the hand of a defender for a spot-kick that was expertly struck home by Kodzi himself.

Hearts returned to the salt mine from the break looking hungrier and deservedly restored the advantage in the 57th minute through a spectacular back-heel goal from Fatawu – who had benefitted from substitute Abdul Manaf’s powerful grounder.

The stadium exploded into joy. But Konkoni was to put the party temporarily on hold as he pulled parity from close range in the 75th minute to the chagrin of the home fans. The Hearts backline was caught in a trance.

Full of beans and determined to win at all cost, the Phobians poured forward in bursts but lily-liveredly squandered a hatful of opportunities with Joseph Esso the worst offender.

And, when substitute Abubakar Traore’s low grounder crashed off the post in the 90th minute mark, all thought Hearts were heading for their third straight draw. 
Then – moments later – there was a big boom! It was an explosion of joy for Hearts – and a detonation of horror for Bechem when Fatawu’s golden lob into the box was headed home by Kodzi – beyond the reach of goalkeeper Afadzwu.

Kodzi really deserved a bouquet of orchids for the goal and his Man-of-the-Match award was only an icing on the cake!

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