GPL PREVIEW: All Stars to test Liberty's survival hopes, Hearts eye end to seven game slump
The Ghana Premier League returns this weekend after a short break with great expectations as the end beckons with three matches left to determine the destination of the PL title as well as decide on the two clubs that will join relegated Edubiase on the journey to the world of Division One soccer.
Coupled with the brewing battle between 6 teams to beat the drop, and the summit still being up for grabs despite Wa All Stars 3point advantage over the pursuing Aduana Stars, third and fourth placed Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak having a slim chance of breaking through for the title, match day 28 promises to be interesting from top to bottom.
League leaders - Wa All Stars – will attempt to make it all count for the ultimate prize as they make the long trip to Accra to square off against relegation embroiled Liberty Professionals who need the win badly to save their season, Aduana Stars will have the advantage of drawing level for the summit as they host Techiman City, Hearts of Oak will kick off the post-Traguil era with Yaw Preko in charge as interim manager at home against Ebusua Dwarfs as they look to break out of their recent 7 games slump, and Asante Kotoko will take on Medeama SC in the weekend’s top liner at the Tarkwa T&A Park with hopes of ending their 3 games winless run.
Elsewhere, team of the moment – Bechem Utd – will be guests of relegated New Edubiase, Berekum Chelsea will take on AshGold, Hasaacas will attempt to rekindle their survival hopes at the expense of WAFA and Dreams FC will entertain relegation threatened Inter Allies.
All match day 28-30 games of the current season will kick-off simultaneously.
Liberty Professionals v WA All Stars - Dansoman
Thirteenth placed Liberty Professionals are in danger of being relegated compared to All Stars who are in pole position to annex the glorious league title for the first time.
With 32 points, Liberty are just a point safe and must produce a fine performance to win as a loss will likely drop them to relegation places.
For All Stars a win will give their title push a huge shot in the arm while a defeat could see them relinquish the top spot.
Liberty have bettered the Northern Blues eight times in 18 league matches, lost four and drew six times.
And are yet to taste defeat against All Stars in the last six fixtures.
Medeama SC v Asante Kotoko - Tarkwa
The top liner of the week will see Medeama lock horns with inconsistent Kotoko whose title chances solely depend on the outcome of this clash.
Medeama are on the rise. They are capable of wreaking havoc and Kotoko must work hard to avoid that.
However, Kotoko will have Black Stars new boy Dauda Mohammed back in their fold. The youngster can be a thorn in the flesh of Medeama if not checked.
Asante Kotoko tipped heavily to land the title after a sensational preseason are within six points of the summit and cannot afford another slip.
Medeama have their sights firmly set on a top four finish after narrowly missing out on the semifinal of CAF Confederation Cup. The last three matches between the two have ended in stalemates.
Hearts of Oak v Ebusua Dwarfs – Accra
The post Traguil era with Yaw Preko in charge as interim manager for the Phobians will commence with a home match against Ebusua Dwarfs as they look to rebound from the humiliating 3-1 loss at Bechem in their last PL outing and also overcome a recent string of bad outcomes that has seen them go winless in their last seven PL outings; 2 losses and 5 ties.
The 3-1 humiliating defeat at the hands of Bechem was too much for the club to take thus prompting the decision to demote the Portuguese.
Fans will expect nothing short of victory start to the new era. Cosmos Dauda, Sumudeen Ibrahim, Patrick Razak and the likes must up the ante to revive the dwindling fortunes of the club.
The Phobians have a slim chance of winning the PL title although they are 6points out, and that depends solely on winning all their remaining 3 matches those ahead of them dropping valuable points.
Dwarfs will be seeking a return to the win column after stunning back to back defeats against Bechem United and Medeama at home, they can be hopeful of grinding out a positive result against the Phobians whose performance at home this season has been awful.
Aduana Stars v Techiman City - Dormaa
The clash between two teams from the same region, Brong-Ahafo, but headed in different direction on the table.
Aduana are second with 45 points. Techiman currently lie 10th with 34 points. The latter were earlier candidates for relegation but 3points from an FA Disciplinary Committee ruling against New Edubiase has since seen the Citizens rise up from the bottom to gain some relief from the relegation cloud.
A win for Techiman allows them to continue their surge up the log. For the home side, a win allows them to inch closer to the top whilst a loss may dampen their title hopes.
Both sides have their destinies in their hands but the tide seems to favor a desperate Aduana side that wants to win the league.
Berekum Chelsea v Ashanti Gold - Berekum
With 35points and three points adrift of the drop zone, 12th placed Berekum Chelsea will have the chance to secure their 11th win of the season and also put some distance between them and the relegation zone with a victory over Ashgold.
Chelsea failed to capitalize on the opportunity to leave the Kumasi with all the spoils as they shared the spoils with Kotoko whilst the Miners won a hard fought lone goal victory over Hasaacas at home.
The pressure is on Chelsea in this one and they can pull it off against an Ashgold side that does not fared too well on the road but are capable of pushing for a tie.
Dreams FC v Inter Allies - Dawu
At Dawu, wounded Dreams will be in search of a resounding victory over rejuvenated but relegation embroiled relegation Inter Allies as they seek to close in on a top four spot.
The two sides endured different fortunes in last PL outings. Allies battered Edubiase 4-0 to boost their hopes of escaping the drop whilst Dreams FC suffered a 3-1 mauling at the hands of All Stars at the dreaded WA Park and will surely want to return to winning ways this weekend. We can expect a tough one.
Hasaacas v WAFA - Sekondi
WAFA could prove a hard nut to crack for Hasaacas who are seeking to move out of the relegation bracket.
Hasmal failed to make the most of their outstanding game against Medeama, and they may not be lucky to collect maximum the maximum points at the expense of WAFA who can be a handful on Sunday.
Hasaacas shockingly threw away a two goal lead to settle for a 2-2 draw, a win would have seen them out of danger and boosted their chances.
Hasaacas capitulated as WAFA run riot 5-1 in the first leg at the latter's home ground. A result WAFA can draw inspiration from to secure their first away win of the campaign.
New Edubiase v Bechem United - Bekwai
Edubiase will play for pride against MTN FA Cup champions Bechem United. The Bekwai-based side have been demoted to the second-tier following the disciplinary committee's decision to dock them six points for fielding an unqualified player in a match against Techiman City which they won 2-1.
The fully rejuvenated Bechem side with the easiest schedule on the weekend will be in search of their fifth straight victory.
We can expect Bechem to win this one hands down with perhaps a huge goal haul in tow.
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Story by Ghana/Joy Sports/Enoch Fiifi Forson