By Anwar U. Larry from the Accra Sports Stadium
Accra Hearts of Oak produced one of their very best performances of the second round to beat Tema Youth 3-1 at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Talismanic captain Thomas Abbey stole the show, scoring a brace on the day, and moving joint-top of the season's scorers' list.
Kwame Kizito gave Hearts the cushioning goal in the second half after Abbey converted from the spot but Tema Youth fought back though they owed referee Issahaku Afful gratitude for pointing to the spot when Leonard Tawiah dispossessed Tawfik Mohammed in the box.
Tema Youth's no.10 Joseph Pantsil converted in the 87th minute to set the game up for a nervy finish. But just hold on.
Two minutes later, Abbey scored one of the very spectacular goals to hit the back of the net this season, ghosting and darting in the box before curling the ball into the top corner to make certainty double sure for the Phobians.
The goal was so beautiful that the fans did not want the game to restart. They were showering local currency on the star man and the rest of the players as the goal celebration reached a crescendo.
Hearts were at their fluent best on the day and could have finished the opening twenty minutes with three or more goals. Patrick Razak missed a couple of chances but that did not deter him as he forced a penalty in the 29th minute.
Vincent Atingah Adae unselfishly stood back for his captain, Abbey, to take over the penalty duties and he made no mistake as he fired into the roof of the net.
Hearts doubled their advantage after the break through Kizito, who reacted quickest to head home Razak's blocked effort.
But Tema Youth would not lie down without a fight. They were brought back into the game when referee Issahaku pointed to the spot after Tawiah appeared to cleanly take the ball off Tawfik Mohammed.
Joseph Panstil scored to give Tema Youth the lifeline but it was cut short by Abbey's sumptuous finish.
HEARTS XI vs TEMA YOUTH: Benjamin Mensah, Fatawu Mohammed, Richard Akrofi, Robin Gnagne, Vincent Atingah, Leonard Tawiah, Patrick Razak (66 Paul Acquah), Winful Cobbinah (81 Daniel Kordie), Kwame Kizito, Thomas Abbey, Isaac Mensah (70 Samudeen Ibrahim)
Unused substitutes: Evans Gbeti, Robert Sowah, Cosmos Dauda, Agbashie Dotse
Booked: Robin Gnagne (6), Winful Cobbinah (35), Isaac Mensah (38), Leonard Tawiah (85)
TEMA YOUTH XI vs HEARTS: Stephen Kwaku, Francis Adjetey (c) (46 Yusif Ibrahim), Theophilus Ogoe, Baba Musah, Malik Antiri, Hanan Wahab (63 Ekow Benson), Gabriel Leveh, Jacob Larweh, Joseph Paintsil, Tawfik Mohammed, Michael Kporvi (42 Stephen Asare)
Unused substitutes: James Akaminko, Nicholas Odjer, Aaron Awannorh, Eric Adjetey
MATCH REFEREE: ISSAKA AFFUL
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: THOMAS ABBEY