Koopman gets first win for Hearts
Accra Hearts of Oak returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Nsoatreman FC at the Accra Stadium yesterday in a match characterised by near misses by the two sides, especially the Phobians.
Hearts, who lost their opening league fixture against Real Tamale United last week, launched an onslaught from the start of the game, making early incursions in the Nsoatreman goal area in search of the opening goal.
Their early attack paid off when Ramos Kashala Wanet tapped the ball home during a goal mouth melee in the fourth minute, raising the hopes of the home fans of a goal feast by their side.
From the beginning, Hearts showcased superior passes, effective ball control much to the admiration of their teeming fans who cheered the Phobians on as they seized control of the exchanges.
However, after taking the lead, Hearts failed to utilise the numerous scoring chances they created, causing their fans to yell at the players intermittently.
Despite playing with a numerical advantage after Nsoatreman's Phillip Ofori was shown the red card for pulling down a Hearts’ player, the homesters wasted clear-cut opportunities due to a lack of cutting edge in front of the opponents' goal mouth.
Although they dominated the game, Hearts players kept wasting golden opportunities – either firing the ball over the bar, shooting against the posts, side netting or playing directly into the arms of Nsoatreman’s goalkeeper, Daniel Afadzwu.
Coach Martin Koopamn's charges kept probing for more goals and came close to scoring again when Martin Karikari’s solo effort from the centre of the field went over the bar much to the disapproval of their fans who yelled at the players for each glaring chance missed.
Nsoatreman FC fought back a few times in search of the equaliser and came close to scoring in the 18th and 24th minutes but Hearts goalkeeper, Richard Attah, rose to the occasion each time to deny them a goal.
After recess, Hearts began to make inroads into the territory of Nsoatreman while the likes of Yaw Amankwaa Baafi, Kofi Agbesima, Martin Karikari and Evans Adomako directed affairs in the midfield.
In one of their attacks, Yaw Amankwaa Baafi intercepted a pass outside the opponents' penalty box, but his shot hit the goal post and bounced back as the fans rued another missed chance.
A few minutes later, Baafi managed to dribble pass his markers but his shot at goal narrowly missed the post again, and he knelt in front of the post hitting his 10 fingers on the ground multiple times in disappointment.
None of the two sides found the back of the net again until referee Opoku Gabriel Arhin whistled for the close of the game.
In a post-match interview, Coach Koopman said he was proud of the team for winning the game even though by a small margin.
“The team has been a little down this week so I understand them. There is disappointment on the part of the fans but they won and they deserve the three points,” said the Dutchman.
For his part, the Coach of Nsoatreman, Maxwell Konadu, said: “It was a good game for Hearts. They won and I think they deserve it. Hearts were keeping the ball more, so it made it difficult for us to equalise.”