Quite often a 3-0 scoreline hints game, set and match. Though there is always room for slack because it is football, and there have been some remarkable comebacks.
However, the situation at the Ohene Ameyaw Park painted a picture despondence. After the 18th minute, King Faisal were losing to Berekum Chelsea 3-0.
The nature of the goals conceded were poor, a lack of responsibility which came as no surprise considering the predicament of King Faisal this season.
Prior to matchday 11, the Insha Allah boys hadn’t picked up a win in seven games and sat hopelessly in the relegation zone.
There was some sort of inspiration club president Alhaji Grunsah was desperate for when he sacked Slavisa Bozicic and appointed Andy Sinason.
Sinason had come close to his first King Faisal victory on a number of occasions drawing 1-1 consecutively with Dreams FC, Bechem United and Elmina Sharks.
A poor start against Berekum Chelsea tainted any hopes of such inspiration trickling into the club anytime soon.
When Paul Atta Agyei’s strike went in to make it 3-0, heads of King Faisal players dropped but the head of Sinason remained high.
Probably, the body language was due to the coach’s confidence before the match when he stated: “King Faisal are going to win this game and I have told you previously that the way we create chances, if we start scoring we will score many.”
His biased prophecy was in two parts and not only did his side win, but they scored many goals putting up the greatest comeback in Ghana Premier League history.
But how did a team in poor form manage such an incredible feat in 70 minutes?
The tactical shakeup
After the third goal went in, coach Sinason switched from a 4-4-2 formation to a 4-1-2-3 with the aim of shutting down the midfield of Chelsea.
Initially, Chelsea overcrowded the midfield and played easily through the middle leading to all three goals. In their build-up, they run past King Faisal’s Albert Mensah who struggled to cope with pace.
In Sinason’s 4-1-2-3 formation, the wingers upfront also had the secondary duty of coming narrow and increasing the numbers in the middle of the park.
Wadudu Yakubu and Frimpong Boateng were the architects who aside bombing forward also dropped to support Mensah in midfield.
Increasing the numbers in midfield helped King Faisal regain control of the game at a time when Chelsea were growing complacent.
King Faisal piled pressure and were rewarded with a penalty after a handball by a Chelsea defender from a corner.
Kwame Peprah stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way. The reaction of the team after the ball went in perhaps set the foundation for this remarkable comeback. Three different players run to the net to pick up the ball so the game could be restarted quickly.
The can-do spirit
Tactically, King Faisal were almost there. It wasn’t smooth sailing for Chelsea in midfield anymore and at 3-1, the side from Berekum started to feel the heat for the first time on the day.
Chelsea held on to the scoreline till halftime. But that goal by Peprah gave King Faisal the belief they needed to be rejuvenated.
Up stepped Sinason in the dressing room. Abdul Wadudu, who is close to the King Faisal team tells Joy Sports the message in the dressing room was crystal clear as the coach kept uplifting the boys.
Wadudu says: “Sinason told the players they are not going to lose the game so they should give their all when they come back from the break.”
Adrenaline was high after the halftime break and the Kumasi-based club kept on mounting the pressure.
Ten minutes after the break, the Ohene Ameyaw Park erupted as Frimpong Boateng sent a pile driver into the top corner to reduce the deficit to just one goal.
Frimpong Boateng who was asked to come more central was assisted by Wadudu Yakubu, another player who was also told tuck in.
Once again, King Faisal players rushed for the ball for the game to restart quickly.
For the first time, fans of the home team started to believe that perhaps a comeback could be possible.
With just over 10 minutes to play, Wadudu once again provided another assist from a central position, this time setting up captain Peprah who struck with aplomb into the bottom corner.
The message remained the same from Sinason at this point from the dugout as he was seen shouting: “We are winning this.”
The Insha Allah boys did not rest on their laurels and took advantage of a stunned Chelsea team as Peprah completed a hat-trick with low effort with less than three minutes to play.
The comeback was complete. The unbelievable had just been achieved as King Faisal had just completed one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the league.
Fans were ecstatic with some left in shock but Sinason looked assured cutting across as a figure who never stopped believing.
After the game, the King Faisal coach was full of gratitude to his supporting cast.
“All that I can say is I thank my players, management and thank everybody of King Faisal. I’m really going to prove to them that Andy Sinason is capable.”
Grunsah wanted inspiration when he hired Sinason and maybe writing King Faisal’s name in history could be the stepping stone they needed to spark their season.
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