Hearts of Oak 1-0 King Faisal: Robin Gnagne hands Phobia a good start

The Phobians beat a 10-man Faisal side to kick off their second round of the domestic top flight on a high

Accra Hearts of Oak recorded a narrow 1-0 victory over 10-man King Faisal at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday to end a seven-game winless streak in the Glo Premier League.

Robin Gnagne converted a spot-kick in the second half to send the Phobia fans present at the stadium into delirium.

The 10-man King Faisal had their moments in the game but the disadvantage of a player down went against them in the final stages.

Hearts of Oak parading four new players in this encounter started the brighter of the two and should have taken the lead in the second minute when Winful Cobbinah’s cut-back was dragged over the crossbar by the well placed James Bissue.

King Faisal responded quickly as they charged up field through former Hearts man Wilson Andoh, but their two attempts on goal in quick succession were all blocked off.

Bissue and Mahatma Otoo combined to set up Joseph Mugre but his acrobatic volley cannoned-off the crossbar and back into play to the relief of the King Faisal rearguard.

Tetteh Nortey was shown a straight red card on the half hour by Cecil Fleischer for a professional foul on the through-on-goal Cobbinah in the 28th minute forcing Coach Mallam Yahya to make a substitution. The substitution did work as the 10-man King Faisal kept Hearts at a distance, and were unlucky to break the deadlock as Ransford Kwakye’s daisy-cutter from a free-kick went narrowly wide.

After recess, King Faisal had the first chance on goal when Kojo Boateng had beaten his marker close to the Hearts box but his cross beat everybody in the danger zone including Wilson Andoh and his strike partner Sulley Mohammed.

David Duncan, not pleased with his players and their inability to make the numerical advantage count, took off Bissue and defender Owusu Bempah for Kofi Abanga and Issaka Nyemeworo. Moments later, the two substitutes combined as Nyemeworo set-up Abanga with a one-on-one chance versus the goalkeeper but the latter, caught in two minds, dallied for goalkeeper Iddris to make a quick-save off his line.

Hearts of Oak were awarded a penalty – their 8th of the campaign – when Suraj Ibrahim handled Issaka Nyemeworo’s shot after Emmanuel Osei’s cross had cause a goal-mouth scramble in the 67th minute. Robin Gnagne’s rising shot beat Ibrahim Iddris who had followed the direction of the ball for the first goal of the game.

King Faisal’s riposte after the goal were two quick counter-attacks with the first being Prince Boateng’s blocked shot, and the rebound from the shot was blocked again by Nuru Sule.

Hearts had taken the lead but King Faisal, who had shown in their last two matches a resilience belying their log position looked certain to get the equaliser but solid defending from the Phobia backline maintained the score.