TEAM NEWS: Thomas Abbey returns from a one-game suspension having missed out in the 4-0 drubbing of Kotoku Royals last Sunday.

Winful Cobbinah, Patrick Razak, Fatawu Mohammed, and Abbey have rejoined the full squad after going on national assignment.

Robin Gnagne, Anthony Nimo, Leonard Tawiah, and Evans Gbeti are all fit.

Inusah Musah completed a successful surgery on his foot last week but he will be out for six weeks. Richard Yamoah remains on the injury table.

MATCH PREVIEW: Accra Hearts of Oak will host Liberty Professionals in the match-day 16 of the Ghana Premier League season at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday, 28th May, 2017.

The second round of the season begins this weekend after a two-week break and the Phobians will be hoping to pick off from where they ended the first round. A scintillating 3-0 away win over Liberty ensured Hearts finished the first round in third place and victory over the Dansoman-based side this weekend will boost their chances of closing the gap with the top-two leading clubs, WAFA and Aduana.

Coach Frank Nuttall and his side started the season slowly but they have picked up steam in the last few games of the first round and will be looking to keep their run going with the fixture against Liberty.

Hearts are unbeaten at the Accra Sports Stadium this season. The Phobians have won five and drawn two of their seven league fixtures in the first round with the home statistics reading as follows: Medeama (0-0), Wa AllStars (2-1), Olympics (2-1), Kotoko (1-0), Bechem (4-2), Elmina Sharks (1-1), and WAFA (2-1).

A week ago, Hearts did not need to get out of gear but they still pumped four goals down the throats of Kotoku Royals to progress to the round of 16 of the MTN FA CUP competition. Coach Nuttall’s side appear to have solved their goal-scoring problems having scored seven goals from two games.

Thomas Abbey is leading the Hearts scoring chart and he will be hoping to find target again against Liberty having hit a brace against the ‘Scientific Soccer Lads’ in the first round.

Strikers Cosmos Dauda and Kwame Kizito were at their impressive best, each getting a goal, in the drubbing of Kotoku Royals. And the return of the strikers to the score-sheet pleases Nuttall.

“It is nice to score goals and get people on the score-sheet. Cosmos got another one today, Kizito got a goal which was important so that is good for those players to get on the score-sheet,” Nuttall said about his strikers hitting target.

“They [Kizito and Cosmos] did well. They did some things well together and they need to make some improvements in other ways but we will speak about that privately. So there is room for improvement.”

Liberty Professionals appointed Michael Osei as their new head coach just before the first round game with the Phobians, but though the ex-Kotoko coach did not sit on the bench in his side’s 3-0 defeat, he will be in charge when the Dansoman-based side trek to the Accra Sports Stadium. With a new manager, you will expect Liberty to come all out against Hearts but they will still have to be careful not to be at the wrong end of another goal-avalanche game.

MATCH FACTS:

The two sides have met 35 times since Liberty Professionals’ promotion to the Premier League in 1999. Hearts have triumphed 20 times against Liberty Professionals. Liberty Professionals have won 9 times and drawn 6 times against Hearts of Oak in the league.

75 goals have been scored in this fixture. Hearts lead the way with 52 goals against Liberty’s 33.

SEASON                               SCORE/RESULT

1999                       HEARTS 2 – 0 LIBERTY

                                LIBERTY 0 – 1 HEARTS

 

2000                       HEARTS 4 – 2 LIBERTY

                                LIBERTY 3 – 2 HEARTS

2001                       HEARTS 4 – 2 LIBERTY

                                LIBERTY 1 – 3 HEARTS

 

2002                       LIBERTY 1 – 2 HEARTS

                                                        (Charles Taylor, Awudu Adama)

                                HEARTS 0 – 1 LIBERTY

2003                       LIBERTY 1 – 1 HEARTS

                                HEARTS 3 – 1 LIBERTY

                                (Don Bortey, Ablade Morgan, Lawrence Adjei)

 

2004                       HEARTS 3 – 0 LIBERTY

                                (Emmanuel Osei Kuffour (2), Ablade Morgan)

                                LIBERTY 3 – 0 HEARTS

 

2005/06                LIBERTY 0 – 1 HEARTS

                                                       (Prince Tagoe)

                                HEARTS 1 – 0 LIBERTY

                                (Bernard Dong Bortey)

 

2006/07                HEARTS 1 – 1 LIBERTY

                                LIBERTY 0 – 0 HEARTS

2007/8                  HEARTS 1 – 0 LIBERTY

                                LIBERTY 1 – 2 HEARTS

 

2008/9                  HEARTS 3 – 1 LIBERTY

                                (Eric Nyarko, Samuel Afum, Elvis Acheampong)

                                LIBERTY 0 – 0 HEARTS

 

2009/10                LIBERTY 0 – 1 HEARTS

                                                       (Andrew Ayittey)

                                HEARTS 2 – 3 LIBERTY

 

2010/11                HEARTS 0 – 1 LIBERTY

                                LIBERTY 1 – 2 HEARTS

                                                        (Douglas Nkrumah, Esme Mends)

 

2011/12                LIBERTY 2 – 0 HEARTS

                                HEARTS 0 – 1 LIBERTY

2012/13                HEARTS 2 – 0 LIBERTY

                                (Robin Gnagne, Ashittey Ollenu)

 

                                LIBERTY 1 - 3 HEARTS

                                (Sadat Karim, Mahatma Otoo (2)

 

2013/14                HEARTS 2-0 LIBERTY

                                (Eric Kumi, Robin Gnagne)

                                LIBERTY 3 – 1 HEARTS

                                (Ashittey Ollenu)

2014/15                HEARTS 1 - 1 LIBERTY

                                [Richard Yamoah]

2015/16                HEARTS 0 – 1 LIBERTY

                                LIBERTY 1 – 1 HEARTS

                                [Cosmos Dauda]

2016/17                LIBERTY 0 – 3 HEARTS

                                [Thomas Abbey (2), Cosmos Dauda)