Accra Hearts of Oak played one of their best games in recent times to beat city rivals, Liberty Professionals 2-1 on Saturday at the Ohene Djan Stadium, Accra.
The Week 21 Glo Premier League local derby, which was pushed
forward by 24-hours, witnessed the best output by Hearts as far as the
second half of the season is concerned, which boosted their sojourn
up the League standings.
Substitute Douglas Nkrumah and midfielder Esme Mends scored for
the Phobians in each half before Liberty pulled one back in the
closing stages through substitute shot-stopper Daniel Adjei from the
Liberty were seeking to complete a double over their city rivals
for the first time since joining the elite division over a decade ago,
after they chalked a lone goal victory in their previous meeting but
yet again they failed in their bid.
After a bright start, the Phobians were dealt a major early blow
after nine minutes when attacker Mahatma Otoo was pulled out due to
injury for his place to be taken by Nkrumah.
It was good news for Nkrumah and the Phobia faithful, as his
first touch two minutes later led to the opener from the spot, after
midfielder Uriah Asante was impeded by Liberty defender Alfred Nelson
in the penalty area.
Asante remained a constant threat to the Liberty defence, with
his characteristic surging runs upfront.
But in the 20th minute, the youngster with only Liberty goalie Patrick
Antwi to beat, surprisingly blasted wide to the dismay of all after
Nkrumah had laid a neat pass unto his path.
Liberty managed a number of raids into the Hearts defence but
they barely troubled goalkeeper Sammy Adjei, who was on a virtual
The Dansoman-lads resumed the second half strongly but it was
Hearts who succeeded in increasing the tally in 52nd minute through
Esme, whose well-taken free-kick at the edge of the penalty area
caught Antwi off-guard.
Antwi paid the price and was subsequently replaced by Adjei after
letting in the ‘bad’ goal, whilst Ivorian-import Kevin Kouakou
replaced Isaac Donkor in attack.
The game swung in favour of Liberty and they kept the Hearts
rearguard marshaled around captain Osei Bonsu, Samuel Nzemaba, Bobie
Ansah and Owusu Sefa on their toes.
In the 77th minute, Bonsu paid dearly after he made a snail back
pass to goalie Adjei which was intercepted by Liberty’s James Abban,
and as he moved forward, Bonsu followed to foul him in the vital area
leading to a penalty for Liberty.
The resultant spot-kick was expertly converted by keeper Adjei,
who displaced his name-sake in post for Hearts to give Liberty a
consolation and the bite to fight harder.
The remainder of the game belonged to Liberty but their efforts
at goal failed to yield the equalizer as the minutes ticked to an end
with the referee signaling for the end of proceedings.