King Faisal defeated Legon Cities 2-1 at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday to avoid relegation from the Ghana Premier League.
The hard-fought victory on home soil pushed Faisal up to the 14th position on the 18-team league log ahead of Real Tamale United and relegated Techiman Eleven Wonders, WAFA and Elmina Sharks.
Even though the two teams did not put up a very good performance on a rain soaked pitch, Faisal managed to secure the maximum points to keep them in the elite division since the 2012-13 season.
Legon Cities went into the match with no relegation worries and, therefore, did not inject much enthusiasm and seriousness into the game as they sat back and soaked up pressure from the home side and attempted to catch their opponents with counter-attacks.
Faisal's goals came in either half of the game through David Oppong Afranie and Enock Morrison as Cities at a point appeared to be ready to derail their ambitions.
Cities goalkeeper, William Emmanuel Essu, was kept busy by the Faisal attackers and almost caused a stir when he asked to be substituted in the 36th minute. Even though he walked off the pitch without aid, he said he could not continue the game again. He was replaced by Sylvester Sackey.
In the 14th minute, Essu saved a close range shot from Yahaya Baba to deny the home side the opening goal. After that save, he had to be treated for an injury which delayed the game for some few minutes.
The substitute goalkeeper was forced to pick a ball from his posts four minutes into added-on time (45+4 minutes) in the first half minute when Afranie beat three markers on the run and unleashed a shot from 20 yards into the back of the net for the opening goal.
In the 67th minute, Morrison extended the lead through a spot kick to give Faisal a great relief and hope of survival.
However, complacency set into the home side’s game as they allowed the visiting side to fight back and reduced the deficit two minutes later through Hans Kowfie who punished Faisal for poor defending. Faisal defender, Abdul Latif, failed to clear Jonah Attuquaye’s cross with a poor header which landed on the foot of Kwofie who fired a knee-high volley to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
It was a wake-up call for Faisal who dealt with the threat and held on to their slim lead to win the match which threw the players and officials into celebration mood for surviving relegation.