Hearts overcome early scare to defend FA Cup

Accra Hearts of Oak came from a goal down to overcome a stubborn 10-man Bechem United to  defend the MTN FA Cup they won last season at the Baba Yara Stadium.

A 45th minute goal by Emmanuel Avornyo broke the deadlock of a combative first half which saw both teams creating decent chances.

The Phobians however, lived up to their “never say die” motto when they restored parity in additional time to end the first half without a deficit.

Hearts created the first chance after two minutes but goalkeeper Abdulai Idrissu of Bechem United came off his line to intercept a dangerous ball into the area.

Bechem took over the game in the next five minutes, bombarding the vital area of Hearts of Oak with series of attacks but failed to make the opportunities count.

The Phobians, however, had the brightest chance to go ahead against the run of play in the 10th minute when Afriyie Barnie was released by a defence-splitting pass but he fluffed the glorious opportunity.

On the 16th minute, Accra Hearts of Oak called for a penalty after Barnie was brought down in the box, but referee Abdul-Latif Adaari would have none of that as he waved play on.

The Hunters stole the lead on the brink of half time as the defence of the Phobians were caught ball watching.

It was a swift build up from the midfield as Bechem switched defence into attack with Augustine Okrah, Clinton Duodu, and Avornyo combining beautifully during the onslaught.

A first attempt at goal was saved by Richmond Ayi, but Avornyo was on hand to plant the rebound beyond the goalkeeper.

Just when everyone thought the referee was about to end the half, Caleb Amankwah sent the Phobian fans into wild jubilation with a stunning equaliser.

The defender stylishly connected an inswinger from Samuel Inkoom, leaving both the backline of the Hunters and the goalkeeper in wonderland.

The second half resumed with both sides determined to annex the coveted trophy before an impressive spectators.

The Phobians took the lead for the first time in the game through Barnie who connected a beautiful cross from Gladson Awako.

As the Hunters pressed for the equaliser, their leading marksman, Augustine Okrah took an early shower in the 64th after an altercation with  Assistant  Referee One, Stephen Balanguena.

The winger who was incensed by  a decision by the Assistant Referee headed him on the mouth, leaving Referee Adaari with no option than to show him the exit.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Bechem United pushed for the equaliser as they threw more men upfront.

Mohammed Alhassan almost gave away a goal with five minutes to end proceedings when he gifted an opponent the ball in the vital area only for the attacker to throw away the opportunity.

Hearts managed to hold on for the remaining minutes of the game,  successfully defending the F A Cup for two consecutive seasons.

Source: GNA

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