|| 2013 President's Cup champions
Accra Hearts of Oak silenced Medeama Sporting Club 2-0 at the Accra Sports Stadium to lift the 2013 GHALCA President's Cup
Mahatma Otoo scored a brace in the first half to gift Hearts of Oak their first President Cup since 2009. Robin Gnange spurned a chance to make the score line empathic when he cannoned the ball off the cross bar from the penalty spot in the second half. The victory was never in doubt as Hearts raced into a two goal lead in the opening 20 minutes. Medeama dominated the second half exchanges but they had no goal to show for their fleeting supremacy.
Head Coach David Duncan made a single change to the starting team that beat Congolese Giants TP Mazembe on penalties on Friday in the first game of the President's Cup. Romeo Agban was relegated to the bench as winger Ashittey Ollenu received the nod with Winful Cobbinah playing right behind Mahatma Otoo.
Hearts of Oak got off to a dream start with barely a minute on the clock when Joseph Halm handled outside the box with Winful Cobbinah pressuring high up the pitch.
Referee Cecil Fleischer awarded Hearts of Oak a free-kick on the edge of the box. Skipper Mahatma Otoo rifled the ball into the bottom right corner of the net for the first goal of the game. The fans had not even made it to their seats but the jubilation would go on unabated as shouts of the Arose chant reached a crescendo.
Hearts, with a goal up, gripped the game and controlled the tempo, raising it and lowering it as and when Duncan's side deemed fit.
Mahatma Otoo and Winful Cobbinah took turns to trouble the Medeama defense with the latter attempting an audacious shot from outside the box that flew inches past Joseph Halm's goal.
In between the burgeoning Hearts brilliance, Abraziz Abankwa was alert in the 6-yard box as he blocked Hans Kwoffie's goal bound shot in the 12th minute.
Medeama were slowly taking control of the game as they pushed Hearts back with Hans Kwoffie drawing a good save from Luggard with a sweet drive outside the box.
Hearts of Oak riposted with a free-flowing, all-attacking, eye-catching, and exhilarating move started by the athleticism and gallant foray of Robin Gnange who had intercepted a pass on the halfway line.
Gnange exchanged passes with Thomas Abbey who intelligently returned the pass into the channel. The Ivorian exhibited the close control of an accomplished attacking midfielder as he darted into the box, kept his cool to tee up Mahatma Otoo, who, without even breaking his stride, shot into the roof of the net for the second goal of the game in the 17th minute.
A goal made in Cote D'Ivoire, and finished in Ghana.
The build up to the goal was top class but the celebration between Mahatma Otoo and David Duncan was equally magnificent, with the gaffer offering his back for Otoo's ride.
Medeama were shell-shocked. Hearts of Oak were elated, and so were the fans at the Accra Sports Stadium.
Hearts of Oak were now happy to let Medeama have the ball, but closed them down immediately they entered the Phobia half.
Three minutes after the hour mark, Hans Kwoffie and Kabiru Moro opened up the Hearts defense with exquisite passes, but the latter fired across the face of goal with Robin Gnange closing in.
The Ivorian defender had staked his claim as the most accomplished defender on the day in the first half of the game. He conquered everything Medeama threw at the Hearts defense.
The halftime whistled came way too soon with Hearts of Oak redefining classic counter-attacking play in the half.
After the break, Medeama started the brighter of the two sides with more questions for the Hearts of Oak defense.
Tetteh Luggard grabbed a header in the crowded box after a free-kick was floated and Joseph Gordon shot wide after being teed up by Kabiru Moro in the box.
In between the Medeama attacks, Mahatma Otoo's free-kick was blocked by the Medeama wall in the 51st minute.
The Hearts skipper went alone in the box, and nearly grabbed his third on the day but the Medeama defense stood tall to deny the striker.
The pattern of the game was now officially set. Hearts were happy to let Medeama have the lion's share of possession as they relied on the break to push Medeama back.
Ashittey Ollenu, accentuating the new trend in the game, slalomed on the right hand side of the Medeama defense and showed great tenacity to shake off his man, and ghost into the box with Henry Entsir lurking. The youngster readied to shot but he was brought down by the Medeama defender for a penalty to Hearts.
Robin Gnagne fired the ball off the cross bar with Joseph Halm going the other way. The Ivorian had taken 5 penalties all season, and had converted all. This time, on his sixth time attempt, and looking for his second penalty goal against Medeama, he was denied by the bar.
Medeama changed their game plan as they based all their attacks down the flanks as they failed to break the two central midfield pillars of Stephen Tetteh and Moro Abubakar in the middle.
Down the flanks Medeama sent a myriad of balls into the box, but Tetteh Luggard together with duo Robin Gnagne and Abraziz Abankwa dealt with the aerial balls superbly.
However, Godfred Rockson inexplicably shot over the bar in the 6-yard box, one on one with Tetteh Luggard, after Medeama had made incursions into the heart of the Hearts defense in the 78th minute.
Ashittey Ollenu took over the game with his darting runs and ball juggling skills down the left flank of the Medeama defense to the excitement of the Hearts fans.
The harm had already been done in the first half for Medeama. Hearts had finally avenged the two defeats suffered in the season.
The 2013 President's Cup was presented by His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana at the end of the game.
David Duncan and his boys have brought back the smiles. The trophy is back, it took four years, but Glorious Accra Hearts of Oak are the Winners of the 2013 GHALCA President's Cup.
HEARTS XI v MEDEAMA:
Tetteh Luggard; Emmanuel Ansong, Owusu Bempah, Abraziz Abankwa, Robin Gnagne; Stephen Tetteh, Ashittey Ollenu, Moro Abubakar, Thomas Abbey; Mahatma Otoo (93 Romeo Agban, Winful Cobbinah (83 Gilbert Fiamenyo)
Unused substitutes: Clement Ashiettey; Kofi Abanga, Obed Ansah, Isaac Mensah, Paul Acquah
Bookings: Emmanuel Ansong, Stephen Tetteh, Moro Abubakar
MEDEAMA XI v HEARTS:
Joseph Halm; Augustine Sefa, Godfred Rockson, Henry Entsir, Samuel Nzemaba; Theophilus Anobah ( Ekow Benson), Victor Ayirey, Joseph Gordon, Godbless Asamoah; Kabiru Moro (Tanko Mohammed), Hans Kwoffie
Unused substitutes: M. Tagoe, Osei Berko, Masawudu Suleiman, Daniel Larbi Coomson, Jacob Kwao.
FULLTIME STATS: HEARTS 2 - 0 MEDEAMA SC
Shots (Target): 11(3) - 17 (3)
Fouls: 29 - 17
Corner: 2 - 8
Offside: 5 - 3
Yellow Card: 3 -2
Source : Accra Hearts of Oak