Wonder Club , Accra Great Olympics laboured to defeat Bechem United 1-O to begin their 2022/23 betPawa Ghana Premier League on a positive note.
Substitute Samuel Ashie Quaye fetched the only goal of the match on the 82nd minute mark to hand Olympics the three points and second defeat of Bechem United in a fortnight.
Both sides clashed in the final of the Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA) G-6 pre-season tournament in which Olympics triumphed 2-0 over their bogey side.
It appears Olympics has found an antidote for Bechem’s stranglehold as recent clashes between them have seen the ‘Dade’ boys record some positive results.
But it was not an easy ride for the AGOSU lads, draped beautifully in their new blue-and-white kits as Bechem took control of the game from the blast of the referee’s whistle.
The visitors, marshaled by enterprising midfielder Abdul Latif Anabila, Francis Twene, Clinton Duodu, Hafiz Konkoni and Seth Kwadwo kept the first 10 minutes of the game in the Oly area; restricting the home team to just two attempted counter-attacks which fell in Bechem’s offside traps.
Within that period, Bechem had the best chance of the day which fell to Avornyo, whose attempted lob over Benjamin Asare in goal for the host, climbed over the bar.
Aaron Essel followed up with a crisp shot across the Oly goal area with no attacker to connect.
But as Great Olympics struggled to come out of their shells, they had a decent opportunity of their own in the 20th minute when a long searching ball into Bechem’s area created a misunderstanding between the defensive pair, Francis Acquah and Avornyo.
Oly’s Yusif Razak capitalised on that to lob the ball over the onrushing Abdulai Iddrisu in goal for the visitors but it missed the post.
The game became a ding dong affair afterwards with the hosts doing little to trouble the opposition goalkeeper.
Oly brought on Samuel Ashie Quaye for Adrian Adjetey on resumption of the second half and attempted to put pressure on the left side of the Bechem United defence but they proved equal to the task.
Coach Yaw Preko, on realising the lack of creativity in his team, effected more changes; replacing his two strikers Abdul Razak Yussif and Aryeetey Ayikwei with Francis Dadzie and Emmanuel Mensah.
That gave the forward some potency.
But after still failing to break the Bechem resistance at the back, Preko again brought on Prince Afrifa and Emmanuel Akesse and that did the magic for the team.
Akesse’s first touch saw him lay a pass to Afrifa who dribbled a few markers before laying a grounder that surprisingly beat the Bechem rearguard for Ashie to perform the easiest task of tapping in to send their supporters into wild jubilation.
With eight minutes plus four minutes additional time left, Bechem responded quickly by effecting three substitutions, abandoned their short passes and resorted to the use of long balls which Emmanuel Sekyere and Oko Grippmann dealt with.
BY ANDREW NORTEY