The 21-time Ghanaian Champions Hearts of Oak Sporting Club ended their six-match winless streak with a narrow win over Bechem United Football Club in week seventeen of the Ghana Premier League 2024/24 season at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi.
Interim Head Coach Abdul Rahim Bashiru made two changes in the team that drew with city rivals Accra Great Olympics Football Club in the Manste derby. Captain Nurudeen Abdul Aziz and Ivorian Kassim Cisse came into the starting lineup to replace Congolese Don Linda Mtange and Former West African Football Academy graduate Enoch Asuobonteng.
Both Hearts of Oak Sporting Club and Bechem United Football Club started the game well but Bechem United Football was more lively on the flanks where Emmanuel Avornyo was operating from. However, Hearts of Oak Sporting Club were dominant in the midfield.
In the 11th minute, Emmanuel Avornyo dazzled through the defense of Hearts of Oak Sporting after going past Thomas Winimi and Nurudeen Abdul Aziz to enter the 18-yard box of the Phobians but his intended cross to locate Isaiah Nyarko who was making a surging run was well blocked by Michael Ampadu, the Hearts of Oak Sporting Club right back.
Back from recess, Bechem United Football Club registered the first shot on target through left-back Francis Acquah but his strike was well dealt with by Richard Attah. Bechem United Football Club scared Hearts of Oak Sporting Club after Emmanuel Annor’s strike in the fifty-ninth minute came off the woodwork to keep the game goalless.
Richard Attah made a crucial save in the eighty-first minute of the deny the “SHS Student” Clinton Duodo from giving the Hunters the lead. Four minutes later, Richard Attah came to the rescue of Hearts of Oak Sporting Club with a timely save to prevent Emmanuel Annor from scoring.
Moreover, there was a late drama when Referee Assi Ibrahim Ayaaba added eight minutes of additional time to the ninety minutes. Hearts of Oak Sporting Club was awarded a penalty after Bechem United Football Club right back Emmanuel Ababio used his hand to prevent Hearts of Oak Sporting Club from scoring and was shown a straight red card by referee Assi Ibrahim Ayaaba. Salifu Ibrahim stepped up and blasted the ball wide. A minute after missing the penalty, Michael Ampadu located Ivorian Kassim Cisse with a pass from defense to attack who skipped past his maker with a nice control, put Salifu Ibrahim through to set up the forty-sixth-minute substitute Martin Karikari who curled the ball beyond the reach Bechem United Football Club goalkeeper Dari Aziz Haruna who captained the team in the absence of Twene Francis.
Elsewhere at the coronation park in Sunyani last Saturday, Asante Kotoko humbled Bofoakwa Tano by two goals to nil courtesy of Steven Dese Mukwala’s brace to get his sixth and seventh goal of the season. Aduana Football Club also dismantled the CAF Confederations Cup campaigners Dreams Football Club at the Nana Agyemang Badu I park in Dormaa by four goals to one.
FC Samartex 1996 leads the Ghana Premier League with thirty-two points after the end of the first round.