Accra Hearts of Oak have failed yet again to take maximum points in their latest encounter in the ongoing Betpawa Ghana premier league; the Phobians were held to a stalemate by Sarmatex at the Accra Sports stadium on Friday night.
Hearts of Oak have generally struggled to keep up a decent run of form going since the commencement of the league last month, with the continental masters earning only one victory in their previous four outings prior to Friday’s fixture.
The Phobians were hoping the brief hiatus they enjoyed as a result of the tragic Akosombo Dam River spillage, which in turn saw their game against Hearts of Lions postponed, would be a step up in their game and a means to prepare adequately to get their season back on track.
However, a convincing performance against high scoring Sarmatex was far from happening with Hearts putting up a torpid display, leading the team to drop points in a lull manner.
Hearts of Oak started the game as the better of the two sides with Martin Karikari’s angled free kick at the edge of the box, but the ball missed the target in the 5th minute. Hearts continued to make incursions throughout the first half and midfielder Seidu Suraj was at the heart of matters. The industrious midfielder was next to attempt to find a way past Sarmatex but his long-range strike in the 24th minute lacked accuracy and went wide off Sarmatex goal.
The rainbow club were dominant in possession over their visitors throughout the opening half but lacked the attacking bite and the final cutting edge in a relatively underwhelming first half display.
The men from Samreboi were presented the first opportunity of the second half to lead as Isaac Afful managed to direct his free kick attempt on goal; he was comfortably gathered by Accra Hearts of Oak goalkeeper, Richmond Ayi who was deputizing for first choice stopper, Richard Atta who was left on the bench.
Hearts of Oak continued to pile pressure on Sarmatex as Seidu Suraj sent in a delightful cross from the left-hand side of the box, but Hamza Issah’s glancing header bounced off the turf into the grateful arms of Sarmatex’s Kofi Baah.
The dying embers of the game saw a new resurgence from the Phobians, with the rainbow club portraying determination to walk away with maximum points; Ampadu swung in a precise cross which found the head of Hamza Mohammed who forced a top draw save from Sarmatex Kofi Baah.
Sarmatex seemed to have been pleased with the course of events in the game, with the Samerboi side’s tactics of smash and grab seemingly lending them a point. Sarmatex however, had to wait for the final whistle as Hearts of Oak were awarded a free kick in the final third of Sarmatex half; Salifu Ibrahim lofted the ball into the box to be attacked whereas Hamza Issah met the ball and was inches away from breaking the hearts of Sarmatex fans, but his close range headed attempt left Kofi Baah static and hopeful of the ball skimming wide off the post.
The last goalscoring opportunity in a game slim of clear-cut chances had different reactions from both dugouts as Hearts of Oak gaffer, Martin Koopman sat with his hands on his head and looked on soberly, whiles his opposite number, Nurudeen Hamadu waved his hands in celebration as the Samreboi side stood firm to leave the capital with a point.
Hearts of Oak’s rocky start to the season still persists with the Phobians finding the back of the net in just one of their 5 outings and recording a single victory in the ongoing season. This leaves the Hearts of Oak fans dejected and vociferous on the affairs of the club. Coach Martin Koopman, who was a disfigured figure in the closing stages of the game recounted the training sessions his team undertook ahead of the game.
“I think we deserved three points over winning but now you see we come a lot of times now in the box, so we did a lot of training [for] this, nine sessions. The boys fought for their life, and I think twice, we had 45 minutes control of the game, only finishing in this moment is the question now but if we continue to do this it will be happen for sure.”
Koopman also took to addressing his side’s poor attacking output in line with the general attacking display in the country’s senior men’s set up.
“There is a deep problem in Ghana football. The problem is also in the national team, especially among wingers and strikers. This is also common in the other clubs.”
The draw places Sarmatex as joint league leaders in the Betpawa Premier League as they earned 10 points from their first 6 outings. Head Coach of Sarmatex, Nurudeen Amadu was quick to dismiss chatters of a potential title challenge and stated emphatically that his side were not going to be carried away by being top of the league, rather to be bound on working steadily to progress.
“It doesn’t mean anything, it’s normal but as a young club I think that we are making effort to get a good place. The matches are played in the first round so you need to build your points through the first round and that’s exactly what we are doing we don’t know what will happen in future, so I think that we are on course.”
The defeat leaves Accra Hearts Oaf Oak lingering around the drop zone as they lie in 15th position with 5 points from their first 5 games. They would have to set things right in their next outing when they go away to the Dun’s Park to face Bibiani Gold Stars.
Story by: Andrews Sefa Bamfo | univers.ug.edu.gh