The Phobians have jumped to the 11th spot on the standings and extended their unbeaten streak in the second round of the Ghana Premier League after taming the Kpando Lions at home
Kweku Andoh had headed the visitors in front in the 18th minute but Mahatma Otoo restored parity for Hearts with two minutes to hit the half-hour mark. Joseph Mugre’s second half strike sealed the win for Hearts.
David Duncan, head coach of Hearts, had promised the Phobian fans that they will win all their home matches in order to finish in the top four, but Andoh and Lions will have none of it as they broke into the lead in the 18th minute.
The visitors’ first meaningful attack of the game was initiated by Avor Prosper who beat two Hearts men on the halfway line only to be fouled close to the box. From the free-kick, Andoh’s thumping header beat the late-to-react Tetteh Luggard in goal for the first goal of the game.
A few minutes later, Thomas Abbey wasted the best chance of an equaliser for Hearts when he took one-touch too many in the box after good work by Mahatma Otoo and Owusu Bempah, with Nana Bonsu, the Lions goalkeeper coming off his line to clear the danger.
Esme Mends shot of a pass fell to Otoo in the Lions’ box and with his marker too close to the marksman, Otoo with his back to goal turned with a single touch on the ball and hit a bullet shot into the near post for the Phobia equaliser.
The Hearts captain will go close again, but this time, he dummied two Lions’ defenders and made space for himself on the edge of the box. Otoo’s shot from outside the box clipped the crossbar with Nana Bonsu stranded in goal in the 43rd minute.
Lions responded with two quick chances in the final stages of the first half. Prosper’s powerful header was well saved by Luggard in goal, and secondly, youngster Kwame Bonsu should have kept his cool when the ball fell kindly to him in the box but his shot rose over the bar.
After the break, Lions were forced into a substitution when their goalkeeper Bonsu collided with a Hearts player from an aerial tussle. Veteran Stephen Ahorlu replaced him. Moments later, Daniel Bonsu rattled the upright after he shot from outside the box between two defenders only for Luggard to fist the ball off the post, and Kojo Edem wasted the opportunity by volleying the rebound off target.
Mugre tapped in from close range after a goalmouth scramble with Ahorlu unable to hold on to Stephen Tetteh’s cross for the ball to bounce off his defender towards the Lions’ goal. The Hearts striker was alert to score his first goal of the season into the unguarded goal in the 75th minute.
Heart of Lions had the tactical upper hand with their constant inter-positional movement off the ball, yet it was Hearts who avenged the 2-0 defeat in the first round.