MATCH REPORT: Hearts of Oak First To Make NC's Special Competition Semis
Controversial Penalty See Hearts Extend Lead At The Top Of Premier B As They Beat Karela United 1-0 In Accra - Match Report.
A controversial Hearts penalty midway through the 2nd half converted with aplomb by defender Christopher Bonney decided the game which was billed as the top liner of matchweek 12 in the ongoing GFA Normalization Special Competition played at the Accra Sports Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The Phobians who were seeking to revenge the defeat inflicted on them by the away side in the reverse fixture and also consolidate their position at the top of Premier B table started the game brightly and could have scored in the first minute as Joseph Esso had a chance at goal, but the former Dwarfs goal poacher scuffed his effort wide.
Karela warmed themselves into the game and by the 10th minute, they had two good chances to score in quick succession but failed to punish the Rainbow boys.
Soon the rains came down heavily and affected play threatened to bring to an abrupt end an exciting game between two good footballing sides. Both teams, though regardless fought their way through and gave fans a reason to sit on the edges of their seats.
Diawisie and Sarfo Taylor both gave Hearts defense a torrid time, especially the former on the left flank as he had Chris Bonney pinned back for much of the first half. There were calls for a penalty in the 40th minute when Karela defender Patrick handled the ball in his penalty area but referee would have none of that as he waved play on to the dismay of the Hearts bench and fans.
Half time came with little to separate both sides but with promise of a much intriguing second half.
The Phobians once again began the half brightly but it was Karela who has the better chances to score but failed to make their chances effect the scoreline. Sarfo Taylor, Kyei Baffour and Keyeh all tested goalkeeper Richmond Ayi but the Hearts goalie was ever ready to thwart whatever was thrown at him.
The midfield trio of Kordie, Alhassan and Fatawu Mohammed did enough to nullify threats from the usual dangerous Diawisie Taylor, top scorer of the competition so far.
Hearts made two quick substitutions. Kofi Kordzi and Malik Akowah for Umar and Aminu Alhassan respectively and that seemed to be a game changer. The pair first combined to set up captain Fatawu but he mishit his effort wide. Kordzi made up with his strength what he lacked in football skills and flair and did well to hold up the ball and play in Esso but the striker was stopped his is runs by the impressive Dacosta at the back for Karela.
The game which was getting more exciting began crying for a goal, and it soon came. William Dankyi exchanged passes with Kordzi before playing in Daniel Kordie who was appeared to have been fouled by Nurudeen and referee pointed to the spot.
Karela players protested but the referee's decision was final as they made way for Christopher Bonney to pick the ball and cooly plant it in the bottom right corner leaving goalkeeper Hagan with no chance.
The goal rather sparked more life into Karela as they poured forward with attempts to at least draw level but time and time again they failed to convert their chances. In one of their attacks which was stopped the Phobians against the run of play, counter attacked but this time a legitimate penalty shout by them was waved off by the referee. Kordzi was fouled in the box by Nurudeen but referee saw to be a fair challenge.
5 minutes of injury time was shown by the 4th referee as Karela still chased the game, but Kim Grant’s men held on for a famous victory, their first over the men from Anyinase at the Accra Sports Stadium. 1-0 it ended with the Phobians extending their lead to 4 points at the top with 2 games remaining.
Man of the Match: Sarfo Taylor
Goalscorer: Chris Bonney (P) 74”
Line ups: Hearts - Ayi; Bonney, Dankyi, Addo, Alhassan; Aminu(Akowuah 65”), Kordie, Fatawu; Manaf(Kordzi 59”), Esso, Sarpong(Agyare 90”)
Karela - Hagan; Kwain, Patrick, Dacosta, Nurudeen; Keyekeh, Godfred, Darlington, Baffour; Diawisie, Sarfo Taylor.
By: Kofi Esikyere