By Anwar U. Larry from the Accra Sports Stadium
Accra Hearts of Oak returned to winning ways in fantastic style by whipping Bolga AllStars 4-0 at the Accra Sports Stadium on Friday.
Coach Frank Nuttall made three changes to the side that lost to WAFA last Sunday.
Goalkeeper Benjamin Mensah returned to the posts in place of Samuel Akurugu whilst Richard Akrofi and Daniel Sarkodie returned to the lineup in the stead of the suspended Leonard Tawiah and the national duty serving Winful Cobbinah who is with the Black Stars.
Hearts had been dealt a heavy blow in the last match and coach Nuttall responded with a new formation. Center backs Akrofi, Atingah, and Robin Gnagne made up the three-man defense in a free-flowing 3-5-2 formation with Thomas Abbey and Kizito spearheading the attack.
However, the hosts’ real chance came through Fatawu Mohammed who raced into the box to meet a standing cross from Patrick Razak but the wingback was denied by the goalkeeper.
At the other end, goalkeeper Ben Mensah had to sprint off his line to smother Mohammed Naeem’s shot after a quick break from the visitors.
Razak was next to go head on with Bolga Allstars’ defense but despite being clean through, his first strike was pushed back by goalkeeper Jebdon before his rebound hit defender Yusif
Goma but he skied his final shot with the net gaping.
The hosts had the bulk of the ball but they could not penetrate the stubborn Bolga AllStars rearguard. But all changed in the 24th minute when Malik Akowuah lifted a perfect cross from a free-kick midway in the AllStars half for Kizito.
The striker towered over his marker before steering the ball past Jebdon, who had come out of his half, to break the deadlock.
Two quick chances came the way of the Phobians after the goal in sixty-seconds but Razak fluffed his lines when he was teed up by Kizito in the 25th minute. A few seconds later, Kizito’s chipped effort after chasing Akrofi’s lofted pass went narrowly wide.
Bolga Allstars coach summoned Alhassan Rahim, who came off the bench to grab a brace against the Phobians in the first round, for Issahaku Wahid in the 33rd minute.
But it was Hearts that went forward again. Abbey released Razak with a clever pass inside the box that drew the goalkeeper out of position and he had no choice than to bring the diminutive down after missing the ball.
Atingah stepped forward and blasted home from the spot in the 43rd minute.
After the break, Hearts continued from where they had left off, scoring two quick goals in four minutes.
Abbey was the sole creator this time around as he slipped Kizito through on goal with a brilliant pass from the halfway line.
The lanky striker beat his marker to reach the ball before drilling home past Jedon in the 47th minute.
Three minutes later, Atingah stole a yard off his markers to meet home a perfectly weighted cross from Abbey to make it four for Hearts.
Abbey and substitute Alexandre Kouami were both denied by
Bolga’s goalkeeper but it did not matter as the Phobians did just enough to atone for last weekend’s debacle in Sogakope.
Hearts XI vs Bolga Allstars: Benjamin Mensah, Robin Gnagne, Vincent Atingah (76 Robert Addo), Richard Akrofi, Fatawu Mohammed, Kassenu Ghandy, Malik Akowuah, Daniel Kodie, Patrick Razak (60 Alexandre Kouami), Kwame Kizito (71 Isaac Mensah), Thomas Abbey (c ).
Unused substitutes: Evans Gbeti, Samudeen Ibrahim, Paul Acquah, Anthony Nimo
GOALS: Kwame Kizito (24, 47), Vincent Atingah (43, 51)
Bolga AllStars XI vs Hearts: Mubarik Jebdon, Rasheed Mohammed (45 Latif Abubakare), Ibrahim Moro, Abass Sadiq, Yusif Goma (c ), Samuel Norgbey, Hafiz Abdulai, Wahid Issahaku (33 Abdul Rahim), Mohammed Naeem, Ibrahim Giyasu, Ganiyu Fuseini (51 Emmanuel Anaba)
Booked: Hafiz Abdulai (22), Mubarik Jebdon (42)
MATCH REFEREE: Eku Boateng
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Thomas Abbey