Enugu Rangers spoil Hearts centenary celebrations

Nigeria’s Enugu Rangers ‘spoiled’ the centenary celebrations of Ghana’s Accra Hearts of Oak after inflicting a painful 2-1 defeat down the throat of the Phobians at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday.

The international friendly, expected to climax the centenary celebrations of the 20-time Ghana League champions, rather served an anticlimax as the hosts regretted the performance of their side when it mattered most.

The fans filled almost half the capacity of the 40,000-capacity stadium in anticipation of victory from the players to wrap up the historic milestone but the Nigerians had a surprise for them.

Hearts dominated the first half with midfielder Uriah Asante and striker Mahatma Otoo forcing the crowd on their legs with their deft touches, but they failed to translate their performance into goals.

The six-time Nigeria League champions also showed positive signs but made no serious threat at goal during the first half.

Hearts were unlucky to take the lead in the opening half as Asante’s effort ricocheted off the crossbar to the relief of the Nigerians.

The Phobian coach Tanko Shaibu, however, surprisingly brought on Laud Quartey for first choice goalie, Sammy Adjei in the second half and and followed up with the withdrawal of central defender Osei Bonsu  and that turned out to be the nemesis of the team.

On 73 minutes, Enugu Rangers silenced the ecstatic crowd with the opener on 73 minutes through substitute Razaq Adegbote, whose long drive courtesy a Yusif Faisal blunder in defence beat keeper Quartey who was on a virtual holiday prior to that mishap.

Just as the Phobians were warming themselves towards the equalizer, the Nigerians doubled the lead on 83 minutes through John Aguda who delivered a long volley that caught Quartey off-guard to silence the holiday makers.

Sensing embarrassment, Hearts of Oak lifted up their game and succeeded in landing a penalty after Mahatma Otoo was fouled in the penalty area by Chibuzor Mada.

The resultant penalty kick was converted by Asante, but it was the last effort for the Phobians despite forcing the Nigerians to their own half of the pitch during the closing stages.

The climax of the match was presentation of certificates of merit to former Hearts players including Emmanuel Osei Kuffour, Dan Quaye, Mohammed Polo, Ishmael Addo, Eben Dida, Agyemang Duah, Daniel Coleman and former Team Manager, Sabahn Quaye for their contribution towards the success of the Club as part of the centenary celebrations.

Source: GNA

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