Yiadom turns hero as Hearts win President’s Cup
The Accra Sports Stadium was turned into a festive scene as supporters of Accra Hearts of Oak join the playing body and officials of the club to celebrate their 1-0 betPawa Ghana Premier League match Kumasi Asante Kotoko.
The celebration reached fever pitch when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo presented the 2023 Presidents’ Cup to Hearts as the encounter was also used as the commemorative match in honour of the sitting President.
Konadu Yiadom, who played a yeoman’s role in defence and attack, became the hero of the day when his piercing header in the 63rd minute of the second half broke the deadlock and eventually won the day for Hearts after a gruelling 90-minute battle for glory.
After dominating the game for the greater part of first and second half, Hearts earned an infringement outside the box which was floated into the Kotoko area by Linda Mtange who was a thorn in the flesh of Kotoko’s defenders.
Yiadom, who had joined the attacked, out-jumped his markers and delivered a powerful header which beat on-rushing goalkeeper Ibrahim Danlad to hit the back of the net.
Despite the disappointing turnout for Ghana’s most anticipated league fixture, there was spontaneous jubilation by the Hearts supporters who had been rooting for their club since the tension packed match got underway.
The victory ensured that Hearts not only returned to winning ways and also leapfrogged Kotoko into fourth place on the league log with 31 points from 20 matches, but also retained the President’s Cup.
Uncharacteristic of matches involving the two clubs where the Accra Sports Stadium is almost always filled to capacity, yesterday's match saw an almost empty stadium.
Apart from the media tribune and the VIP Stand which were almost filled to capacity by 3:20 p.m, the large parts of the stands were empty when the match kicked-off.
After President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had taken the ceremonial kick-off as the Special Guest of Honour, it was decided by the organisers open the gates free to encourage attendance.
Moments after kick-off, Hearts started attacking their opponents in droves and started bombarding the territory of Kotoko with ease.
By the fifth minute, goalkeeper Danlad had made two brilliant saves to deny Hearts an opportunity to score an early goal.
With well-organised defenders, cohesive midfield and biting attack, the Phobians continued to dominate play and pushed Kotoko to their own half, but failed to take opportunity of the chances created.
In the seventh minute, Kotoko’s George Rodrigue Mfegue Omga also had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock but with only goalkeeper Richmond Ayo at his mercy, the striker messed up the opportunity.
The dominance of Hearts continued until the last 15 minutes when Kotoko came into the game with cohesive passes as they operated from the flanks, but found it difficult to penetrate the tight defence of their opponents.
Their attackers of Richmond Lamptey, Steven Desse Mukwala and Mfegue had resort to long shots which failed to find target.
The same trend continued until the 63rd minute when defender Yiadom taught the strikers how to convert half chances into goal with his piercing header that won the day and the bragging rights for Hearts.