Hearts vs. Medeama: Title contenders face first real test

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The Phobians are hoping to end their six-year run without any major trophy but they must first jump over a significant obstacle this weekend

Medeama 's trip to Accra to face Hearts of Oak on matchday two of the 2017 Ghana Premier League will be a real examination of the two clubs' title credentials after their performances on opening day.

The Yellow and Mauve saw almost half of their first-team players leaving after last season, but the new additions have been able to show their quality, applying the brakes on the young and energetic Wafa players by defeating them 1-0 at the T&A Park on the opening day.

Hearts on the other hand, failed to find the back of the net against Inter Allies as they shared the spoils in a goalless draw in Tema.

It’s true that one game doesn't make a season, but so far, the campaign could hardly have gone any better for Medeama. However, although coach Evans Adotey will be happy, he revealed that his side were not fully stretched by Wafa.

Evans Adotey - Black Maidens coach

The manager will be hoping that the early momentum built up by his side will allow them to pick another win against the Phobians this weekend, as they look to make an early statement of their title ambitions.

Hearts have already made it clear that their ambition is the title and their desire to take the goal has been evidenced in their significant transfer business during the offseason.

 

They’ve signed Medeama's best player in Malik Akowuah and have appointed a new coach in Frank Nuttall and already appear to have regained a measure of defensive solidity after not conceding against Inter Allies for the first time in three seasons last weekend.

Beyond that, striker Cosmos Dauda has regained his fitness and showed glimpses of what he has in store for this weekend's fixture, but the reality is that Medeama are no pushovers having won three and lost one in their last six at the Accra Sports Stadium.

Malik Akowuah

Striker Cosmos, who scored eleven goals to end up as the club's topscorer last season, blamed Hearts’ underwhelming opening-day draw against Inter Allies on the heavy downpour hours before the game.

"Sincerely, it was a poor outing due to bad weather and pitch but an away point is very important. We've got to win our home matches [starting from Medeama]," he said.

However, the supporters will not accept such 'flimsy' excuses for much longer, especially when any points dropped will gradually push them away from realising their dream of annexing the title for the first time since 2009.

Sunday’s match is the start of a sequence of games which will determine Hearts' fate in the Premier League title race. After this, they travel to Cape Coast to face Ebusua Dwarfs, before locking horns with champions Wa All Stars, Aduana Stars and city rivals Great Olympics.

AshGold vs Hearts of Oak

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Nuttall's side have more mettle, more quality and more character than Medeama, but they need to prove their worth to clear any doubt surrounding their title credentials.

Hearts will also do well to watch out for the Yellow and Mauve’s selection of talented if underrated stars, with Latif Salifu, Bennett Ofori and Theophilus Nyame all capable of taking Medeama to a second consecutive victory.

The fixture on Sunday will provide Hearts with a chance to redress a balance thrown so wildly out of kilter last season, but Medeama have never seemed concerned about having to overcome the odds and could be primed to give Nuttall a baptism of fire on his GPL debut.

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