Faisal Silence Hearts In Accra
King Faisal staged a vintage show to overpower Accra Hearts of Oak 2-1 in a fund raising game at the Accra Stadium yesterday.
Faisal appeared set to run away with a clean slate following an early double strike by Owusu Ampem and Steve Debrah in the second and 20th minutes respectively until a second half rally by the home side cancelled one of the goals with eight minutes remaining.
That strike from junior international, Prince Tagoe, carried enough finese as those of his Faisal counterparts, but it was all Hearts could show in a high quality match, marred by a fracas between an assistant referee and fans, and Hearts' coach Ernst Middendorp's brush with match officials.
And for Hearts, the involvement of a section of their fans going to watch the game in an accident, meant a double jeopardy for them.
Faisal kept early control, linked defence and midfield, and when a through ball caught Hearts off balance, Owusu finished off while Hearts were still unsettled.
That awakening saw Hearts push forward with Edmund Copson — who returned to the side after more than a year's absence Adjah Tetteh and Amakwah Mireku pushing Louis Agyemang and Tagoe towards goal, but the formidable defence wall mounted by Nana Akwasi, Habib Mohammed, Shilla Illiasu and Godwin Ablordey limited Hearts' progress.
In desparation, Dan Quaye abandoned defensive duties and joined the Hearts attack, and nearly fetched the equaliser but his finishing to a combination by Mireku, Tagoe and Louis missed the upright narrowly.
Faisal demonstrated strength in midfield where Ben Wilson, Prince Antwi and Kwabena Poku engaged their counterparts in a stiff contest, and when central defender Kwabena Boafo mistimed a ball, he presented Debrah a chance against Hearts' goalkeeper Eben Dida.
The Faisal forward controlled well into Hearts penalty area before firing a low one beyond Dida for his side's second goal.
Faisal kept Hearts at a distance and it was not until the 60th minute that the Confederation Cup campaigners came close to scoring. In that instance, Habib summoned all nerves and scooped a lob by Ablade Morgan, that had beaten goalkeeper Suraj Mohammed, from the post.
But as they probed, Tagoe connected Joe Ansah's perfect cross from the right for Hearts' consolation, and found them disadvantaged as they move into the second leg of the tie intended to raise funds for Ghana's contigent to the Olympic.