Hearts cruise to CAF Cup finals
Accra, Nov. 14, GNA - Accra Hearts of Oak on Sunday made another historic entry into the finals of the novelty Confederations Cup competition with a 3-2 victory over Cotonsport Goroua of Cameroon at the Accra Sports Stadium. This comes four years after Hearts won their first continental trophy in 2000. The Phobians who needed nothing short of victory to achieve another dream final plunged straight into business from the blast of the referee's whistle but Bernard Don Bortey, just under the first minute fumbled when confronted with only keeper Bello Gautier to beat. As if the failed attempt was the beginning of good things to happen, the Cameroonians turned the heat on Hearts and tactically dominated the game with quick, accurate passes and swift interposition changes but failed penetrate into the Hearts defence to cause any havoc. In the face of these, it was Hearts who cheered on by the packed to capacity vociferous fans who made some good attempts at goal with Francis Bossman having his long drive just at the edge of box parried over the bar by keeper Gautier in the 18th minute, whilst a golden opportunity on the path of Cotonsot's Sousia Boukar was wasted in the 35 minute. The level of competition provided by the visitors suggested a barren first half until Louis Agyeman's composure set the stadium ablaze when he pounced on a set-up from Bossman in the vital area of the visitors to slash pass the keeper for the opener in the 44th minute to end the half. Spurred on by some pep talks from the technical team, the home team resumed the second half with a renewed spirit and made several failed attempts at goal. Hearts remained a constant threat in the vital area of the Cameroonians and this paid of the 57th minute when Borteys' cross created a melee in the opponent's area for Agyeman to bury the ball into the net for Hearts second goal. The playing body of Hearts were carried away by the two goals and allowed complacency to set into their game. The Cameroonians however failed to capitalize on this and allowed Hearts to register their third goal in the 79th minute from the foot of Bernard Don Bortey. This came about as a result of a combination between Coleman, Agyeman and Bortey. With victory certain, the Phobians nearly laughed at the wrong side of their mouth after making two substitutions in the last ten minutes of the game, by introducing Joe Ansah and Lawrence Adjei for Don Bortey and Prince Tagoe. It was however the Cameroonians who rather benefited from the changes as they pulled back a goal in the 89th minute through Makadji Boukar and added another one during injury time from the foot of substitute Zame Andre to send shivers down the spines of the parked home crowd. The Phobians nearly paid dearly for the complacency of their defenders and it was obvious when they heaved a sigh of relieve when the referee brought hostilities to an end after four minutes of added on time.
The victory thus sets the tone for an all-Ghanaian final following Kumasi Asante Kotoko's 3-0 emphatic victory over Al Hilal of Sudan in their match played at the Kumasi Sports Stadium on Saturday.
The Porcupine Warriors screwed into the finals with an application of the head to head rule, which gave them the nod over their close contenders, Enugu Rangers who though have the same points.
Line Up : HEARTS - Mohammed Saanie, Amankwah Mireku, Acquah Harrison, Dan Quaye, Dan Coleman, Eric Nyarko, Bernard Don Bortey/Joe Ansah, Adjah Tetteh, Prince Tagoe/Lawrence Adjei, Louis Agyeman, Francis Bossman.
COTONSPORT - Bello Gautier, Kinbong Lam Etiene, Mavengue Silver, Boya Ntsosa Paulis, Gaha Djiadem Marcellain, Ahmadou Ngomna, Zambo Eric, Makadji Boukar, Sousia Boukar, Bebbe Gustave, Sadjo Haman.