A 90th minute penalty award earned Great Olympics a 1-1 draw in their pulsating Knock-out quarter final match against Hearts of Oak at a soggy Accra Sports Stadium pitch yesterday.
Hearts had taken a commanding and well deserved lead as early as the 25th minute through Kofi Bruce, and just as they were preparing to celebrate their victory, a hard pressed Joe Dakota fell in an attempt to clear the ball and handled it in the process.
Substitute player Thompson scored from the spot-kick. The ball went through the net. Keeper Lamptey who apparently thought the ball went off target protested. A section of the players joined him and soon, there was a hold-up.
Referee Major George Lamptey who was right on the scene maintained it was a clean goal.
It was ironical that Joe Dakota, easily the best player of the day should concede a penalty at that vital time.
On the whole, it was quite an interesting game and both teams deserve commendation for the first class game they played, despite the really heavy pitch, the result of incessant rains hours before the match.
Hearts appeared to be more at home on the heavy pitch than Olympics and it would not have been out of place if they had won.
Their first goal was classic. Naawu under pressure, punched the ball to unmarked Kofi Bruce who cracked in a fierce left footer through a crowded goal-mouth.
Oly replied almost immediately and Lamptey, in Hearts goal, was called upon twice to make point blank saves.
With the fairly dry side of the pitch in their favour, Oly had more composure in the second half but brilliant defensive work by Hearts foiled all their moves.
Joe Attuquayefio, who had a busy day, did not however stop probing. He marshalled his men for an all-out onslaught, the penalty award which kept their hopes still above in this competition, was the result of persistent effort.
The two sides will have to be content with a replay at a date to be announced by GAFA today.
This is contrary to the rules governing the competition which demands an extra time and penalty kick system if still the scores after the extra time stood at par.
But the two boastful sides eager to settle their claim for supremacy, agreed that there should be a replay.
Even though the 1-1 draw strengthens Olympics undefeated record this season, it also proves that in knock-out matches, Olympics always find Hearts unsurmountable, no matter the form of guide, rain or shine.
Who wins the replay? The debate continues.
HEARTS QUIT IN PROTEST
Accra Hearts of Oak yesterday withdrew from the current national knock-out competition.
Their withdrawal was contained in a release issued by the club and signed by its secretary Mr E E. Dadzie. The release said their decision to withdraw was the result of the bitter disappointment by their players after their rivals Accra Great Olympics had been chosen as the champion club of Ghana for the Africa clubs cup competition on Saturday morning.
The release said soon as after Olympics selection the entire Hearts players then in camp at Meridian Hotel Tema, unceremoniously broke camp and that all attempts to get them back proved abortive.